Two weeks ago I spent a couple of hours with Tony Bennett at home and in his art studio. First we talked in the living room of his spacious apartment overlooking Central Park and then we moved to his studio a couple of buildings away. Interestingly, his apartment is way above the park's tree line while his studio is on a much lower floor. Tony said he bought the studio space in 2004 to paint closer to street life, allowing him to look out the windows and see traffic jams and people walking around. In today's Wall Street Journal (go here or please buy the paper), I interview Tony on his studio and why art means so much to him. It starts on page 1 of the Mansion section. [Photo above of Tony Bennett in his art studio by Brad Trent for The Wall Street Journal]
Most people aren't aware that Tony was a painter before he was a singer—or that he almost became a painter instead of a singer. We have a high school teacher in New York to thank for making sure Tony didn't scrap the mike for brushes. Tony also talks about how his painting—and sculpting—are related to the choices he makes when he sings. Tony also opens up about his passion for art and how he maintains his painting skills on the road. [Photo above of Tony Bennett, Duke Ellington and singer Al Hibbler in the 1960s]
JazzWax tracks: You'll find Tony Bennett's latest release, Live at the Sahara: Las Vegas 1964 (Sony), here. His entire catalog is available at iTunes.
JazzWax clip: Here's one of my all-time favorite Tony Bennett recordings—End of a Love Affair, from The Good Things in Life (1972)...