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Tony Bennett: Two Artistic Disciplines, One Performer

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Tony Bennett accomplished a successful career and the climax of it was between the 50’s and 60’s. He was born in Queens, New York on August 3, 1926. Bennett has been a popular jazz singer and he is considered as one of the best vocalists in this genre. Besides music, Tony Bennett has succeeded in the painting ambiance. As a curious fact, his real name is Anthony Dominick Benedetto.

He mostly got influenced by jazz precursors; for example, Jack Teagarden and Louis Armstrong as well as and other singers such as Eddie Cantor, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby and Judy Garland. Bennett attended the High School of Industrial Arts in New York; in this institution he studied painting and music, but unfortunately, and due to the circumstances, he had to drop out of school to support his family when he was just a teenager.

By 1944, Bennett was recruited by the United States Army, to serve in the Infantry during World War II. He had to perform other special services while he was in France and Germany, such as entertaining the soldiers with the band unit. Regarding war, Tony Bennett points out a very sharp reality "Anybody who thinks that war is romantic obviously hasn't gone through one."

He returned to the United States in 1946, and immediately he started to attend the American Theater Wing, where he learned bel canto; this discipline facilitated him to maintain his voice in a good condition during his whole singing profession. He had a particular style while he was singing; it consisted on the imitation and improvisation of voices of other musicians, like Stan Getz.

By 1949 he was invited by Pearl Bailey to participate in Greenwich Village; Bob Hope was invited too. The following year, Tony signed a contract with Columbia Records, where he placed his first thriving single, “Because of You". He gained popularity and in 1951 this song reached the #1 in music charts, selling more that a million copies. His second recording “Blue Velvet” caught the attention of hundreds of young people in many places such as the Paramount Theater in New York.

He got married with Patricia Beech, who was an art student; he met her in one of his performances in Cleveland, in 1952. He continued with his successful career and in 1953, he released a third album, which also became #1; this album was called “Rags to Riches”.

His open personality and his scenic abilities led him to host a TV program called “The Tony Bennett Show.”

In the year 1958, Bennett collaborated with and joined the Count Basie Orchestra; they released two booming albums: “Basie Swings, Bennett Sings” and “In Person! Tony Bennett / Count Basie and his Orchestra.”

As a soloist, in 1962, he won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Best Male Solo Vocal Performance with his song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”

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