Personnel: Tony Bennett (vocals); Jorge Calandrelli (conductor, arranger); Ray Charles (vocals, piano); Ralph Sharon (piano); Paul Langosch (bass); Joe LaBarbera (drums).
Recorded at Olympic Studios, London, England and Larrabee Sound Studios, Santa Monica, California.
Also available in a 3-pack with I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO and ASTORIA:
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST.
After several years hiatus from Columbia Records, Tony Bennett returned to the majors with a series of lavishly orchestrated albums. Recorded in London and dedicated to the great cabaret singer Mabel Mercer, THE ART OF EXCELLENCE is perhaps the best of these. Much of this little-known material sounds so fresh that one would think that it was written especially for this session as indeed "When Love Is All We Had" and "Forget The Woman" were. But songs like Irving Berlin's "I Got Lost In Her Arms" and Arthur Schwartz's "A Rainy Day" only further demonstrate Bennett's impeccable taste and his uncanny ability to make any performance sound contemporary. Speaking of contemporary, an added bonus is Bennett's playful, funky duet with Ray Charles on James Taylor's "Everybody Has The Blues."