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July/August 2006

Tony Bennett
Through the Years
Hear Music

If, as seems a rapidly growing trend, you like to purchase your CDs concurrent with your morning cappuccino, and if, perchance, you’re in the market for a tidy, conventional Tony Bennett compilation, then head to your nearest Starbucks and order up this sugar-free 15-track disc.

What you’ll get is an all-standards assortment of early chart hits (“Cold, Cold Heart,” “I Wanna Be Around,” the inevitable “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”) and album tracks (Bennett’s achingly gorgeous “Who Can I Turn To,” one slice—“My Foolish Heart”—from his landmark first union with Bill Evans), with smatterings from every significant portion (including his brief departure from Columbia in the early ’70s to record for his own, ill-fated Improv label) of his half-century career.

What you won’t get is anything approaching originality or imagination when it comes to track selection. No rarities, no outtakes, no lost treasures, no surprises. So consider Through the Years for both what it is obviously intended to be: a rich, creamy, professionally assembled retrospective that’s as uninspired as a low-foam, fat-free latte but still goes down awfully smooth.

Originally published in July/August 2006
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