Also available in a 3-pack with THE ART OF EXCELLENCE and ASTORIA: PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST.
Recording information: CBS 30th Street Studios (10/25/1957-01/23/1962).
Photographer: Don Hunstein.
Fully a decade after his first top hits, the enormous success of 1962's " I Left My Heart In San Francisco" finally established Tony Bennett as the preeminent male singer of his generation. While some of the tunes here might not be as distinguished as later work, (where Bennett would be able to excercise more clout) there are substantial offerings such as the near-transcendent "Once Upon A Time" and a thoughtful reprise of Nat "King" Cole's "Smile," complete with a lovely wordless soprano floating somewhere in the background. By this time, Bennett's slightly grainy baritone was a perfectly refined instrument; the increased confidence permeating his second interpretation of Cole Porter's "Love For Sale" (first heard on 1957's THE BEAT OF MY HEART) is infectious. A playful, off-meter reading of Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh's aptly titled "The Best Is Yet To Come" closes the set in high style.