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A singular voice: Tony Bennett in return to Valley

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Published: Thu, May 9, 2019 @ 9:26 a.m.




The great Tony Bennett will return to the Mahoning Valley on Sunday for a concert at Packard Music Hall.

At 92 years, the smooth singer and American icon is not slowing down. He will be joined by his daughter, vocalist Antonia Bennett, at the Packard show; some tickets remain available.

The “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” singer last visited the Mahoning Valley in October 2005 for a concert thats was part of the opening weekend at what is now called Covelli Centre (in those early pre-naming right days, the building was simply known as the convocation center).

Singing isn’t Bennett’s only means of expression. An accomplished painter, his artworks were exhibited at Youngstown’s Butler Institute of American Art in 1995.

Those who know Bennett for both his music and his paintings are aware of his intense passion for both art forms.

In an interview with The Vindicator before his 2005 Youngstown concert, Bennett pointed to his dual focus as the reason he’s been on top of his game for so many decades.

“I always say that by doing music and painting I can keep in a creative zone all the time and never get burned out,” he said.

“With my music, I am in front of a large group of people and it is very gregarious, and then the painting is done in solitude with just me and the canvas. The two balance each other out in a yin-yang relationship, so I always feel energized.”

The beloved singer’s one-of-a-kind career is known for the accolades its has garnered as much as its longevity. It includes 19 Grammy Awards and millions of albums sold, and spans more than six decades.

After all those years, Bennett’s voice remains natural and interesting, say the critics.

Even as a nonagenarian, Bennett continues to work and record at a vigorous pace.

His latest album, “Love Is Here to Stay,” recorded with long-time friend and musical colleague Diana Krall, topped the jazz charts upon its September release and was nominated for a Grammy Award.

The album celebrates the music of the Gershwins and includes the jazz standard, “Fascinating Rhythm,” which Bennett and Krall perform as a duet.

The inclusion of the song on the new album was the impetus for a Guinness World Record title for Tony Bennett, who in 1949, under his stage name of Joe Bari at the time, made his very first recording of the Gershwin standard.

In 2017, the Library Of Congress presented Bennett with The Gershwin Prize, marking the first time that an interpretive singer has been honored.

His signature song, “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” was inducted this year in the National Recordings Registry.

Bennett’s sixth book, “Tony Bennett: On Stage and in the Studio,” was recently published and provides an insightful look into the singer’s recording career.

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