Perpetual Change

| Oct 27, 2014

cheek_to_cheekCheek To Cheek by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

CD review

It’s rare for me as a reviewer to really like an album the first time I hear it. That hardly happens even when I hear something new from artists/bands I’m a fan of. It usually takes me a few listens to really get into new material.

Not so with the Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga project Cheek To Cheek. This is truly well done big band jazz with a song list of standards right out of the Great American Songbook.

Cheek To Cheek came out of a very organic friendship and relationship that Tony and I have built over the years,” Lady Gaga said about the project. “It was important to Tony that this was a jazz record. I’ve been singing jazz since I was a child and really wanted to show the authentic side of the genre. We made an album of jazz classics.”

For his part, Mr. Bennett said “I’ve been singing the Great American Songbook my entire career … Creating this album with Lady Gaga has been a beautiful experience as she is a fantastic singer and I am hoping that all her fans will embrace this music and swing along with it.”

It’s hard to start picking the best tunes on the project since everything recorded here is a classic song in it’s own right, done by two consummate artists, backed by some of the best jazz players found anywhere. But, I’ll try.

The album opens with Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. The back and forth vocal lines are matched perfectly, as is Bennett’s and Gaga’s harmonies. Their voices complement each other exceptionally well.

Anything Goes (Clip)

Title cut Cheek To Cheek is classic jazz. This one tunes shows vocal ability and control by Lady Gaga that’s not always apparant on her pop material. The big band jazz backgound is one of the better production moments as well.

Cheek To Cheek (Clip)

The laid back classic Nature Boy features an incredible flute solo by one of the aforementioned jazz greats, Paul Horn. Gaga’s voice can only be described here as sultry, sexy, sensual … whatever you want to call it. It’s one of the best vocal tracks on the project.

Lady Gaga solos on the Billy Strayhorn classic Lush Life. Mr. Bennett has his solo moment on the Ellington/Mills/Parish penned Sophisticated Lady. Both artists approach these solos with sheer class, more than equal to the material.

The other totally stand out track is the album’s closer, the Ellington/Mills classic, It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing). If you’re someone who buys an album just to find that one amazing tune, this is the one. Absolute perfection-great band, great arrangement and solos, and great vocal blend.

Tony Bennett is one of the last of the Rat Pack generation of what Frank Sinatra called saloon singers. At 88 years of age, his voice is still strong and commanding. He’s lost nothing as an artist over the years.

Lady Gaga is an artist I’ve always thought would show she has a lot more to her than the in-your-face weirdness (like the meat dress.) Cheek To Cheek shows that Gaga really is a Sophisticated Lady. She’ll have a career doing what kind of music she damned well wants to to do for as long as she wants.

I’m a rock musician who’s into jazz and progressive rock, and I LOVE THIS ALBUM!

Let’s Face The Music and Dance (Clip)

Cheek To Cheek Executive Producer, Danny Bennett. Album produced by Dae Bennett. Orchestra arranged and conducted by Jorge Calandrelli, with brass arranged and conducted by Marion Evans. Please check out the CD insert for proper musician credits. For more information visit the CD’s website.

FILM NEWS

Varla Jean Merman

Varla Jean Merman

Well known drag artist Varla Jean Merman has been cast in a film set to start shooting in San Francisco soon, called Hush Up…Sweet Charlotte. Gee, what does that sound like? Can you say parody?

Online shopping giant Amazon has gotten into the film business with a TG themed series call Transparent. Hopefully, we can get an interview with some of the folks involved. Stay with us on this.

Rev. Yolanda has announced the release of Rev. Yolanda The Movie. A Kickstarter campaign is in the worlds to help raise funding for wider distribution. Please check out

ALSO THIS MONTH

Hall as Hedwig

Hall as Hedwig

Yet another actor is taking over the role of Hedwig on Broadway. Michael C. Hall debuted in the role on October 16. He takes over for Andrew Rannells who took over for Neil Patrick Harris. Can’t keep a good drag role down, can you?

Michelle Rocking Horse Garcia now has a new full time band of incredible musicians. They are scheduled for several dates in and around Nashville, TN in the coming months. For gig listings and more information, please check out also

Georgie Jessup’s recent CD Philosopher Dogs has a chance to win a Washington Area Music Association Award, known as a WAMMIE. For more information if you are an associate member of the organization, or know someone who is, please go to the Association’s website and vote.

Coco Peru just came out as Bi. Okay, so check out her web site about that one. She also has a new YouTube video out as well.

NEW MUSIC

Queen Of The Clouds by Tove Lo

Tove Lo’s first full length album is full out dance material The best dance cuts are Like ‘Em Young, The Way That I Am (mid-tempo dance), Not On Drugs, and Run On Love.

Two cuts are more rock than I was expecting to hear — Time Bomb, which has great keyboard work and excellent production, and the moderate rock tempo of Thousand Miles.

The best production moments are This Time Around and the CD’s best cut, Habits (Stay High).

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You’ll have to check out the CD insert for song writer, production and musician credits. For more information, please check out Also on Facebook, Twitter, and instagram.

 

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Category: Fun & Entertainment

Pam Degroff

About Pam Degroff: Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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