Consumer Guide Album
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek [Streamline/Columbia/Interscope, 2014]
I'm agnostic at best as regards the urban legend of Bennett's ageless cool. It's too classy on his end and too voguish on that of his eager young admirers. But this guy isn't just 80--he's 88, old enough to awaken in a 72-year-old like myself something approaching the dreams of immortality he instills his thirtysomething partisans. Granted, it's his twentysomething partner who provides the elan vital here. Gaga grabs these standards as Linda Ronstadt never did and Annie Lennox should be tried for trying--rock-'em sock-'em uptempo, not quite overripe on ballads, and having a ball both ways. In a true collaboration--both solo turns fall flat--it's her enthusiasm, her vulgarity, and the liberties she takes with the tunes that make the concept sing. That said, however, Bennett always sounds like he has some left in the tank. It's inspirational, I admit.