- Leonard Bernstein‘s The Love of Three Orchestras (1986)
- Michael Tilson Thomas: We Were Playing Boulez, But We Were Listening To James Brown!
I think I have found a third from an unlikely source … The Zen of Tony Bennett.
I am delighted my wife Sue persuaded me to watch it on the Studio channel yesterday.
In The Zen Tony Bennett shares insights from his life as he works with other artists on his Duets II album.
I thought his conversation with Amy Winehouse was extraordinary. An 86 year old had incredible affinity with a 27 year old. It was made profoundly more powerful by the realisation that this was Amy’s last recording. I thought the key to the remarkable chemistry between the two of them was a shared interest in Dinah Washington. They were as one talking about her.
Their conversation left me thinking about many things. I admired how Tony coaxed a very special performance from a very nervous Amy and did so in a wonderfully sensitive way. (In a subsequent interview he observed “I think it shows what a true original artist she was, and what a genius she was as a vocalist. You can’t watch that scene and not know by the end of it what an truly extraordinary talent Amy was.”)
There is a YouTube recording of their duet.
I was left thinking about how Tony drew upon an encyclopaedic knowledge of music over the last sixty years to engage with everyone he met. I had a sense of awe about his tacit knowledge and the ways in which was expressed in his performance.
The delightful surprise of finding this program was tinged with profound sadness. Perhaps this is why it will be in my list of very important learning experiences.