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Hip at Heart

On Nov. 3 1961, Dave Brubeck played at the UO’s McArthur Court for $2.50. Less than a year later, Brubeck joined Tony Bennett for the White House Seminar American Jazz Concert with the Washington Monument as a backdrop. On May 28, 2013, Tony Bennett & Dave Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962 was released after over a half century forgotten in a vault. 

“Anyone who plays jazz adores Dave Brubeck,” Bennett told CBS This Morning in May. And anyone who loves jazz, pop music and standards, not to mention an Italian-American purr, old Hollywood glamour and a classy gentleman sheen, adores Tony Bennett. At 86, after singing for more than seven decades, Bennett is a national treasure. His best bud Frank Sinatra did say, “For my money, Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business.” Who is going to argue with Ol’ Blue Eyes? 

Perhaps what has made Bennett one of the best longer than most is not just his velvety croon or perfect pitch, but his knack for attracting fresh, new talent. On Duets II (2011) alone, he harmonized with a whole slew of hip, young cats: Queen Latifah, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, Norah Jones, Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse. Bennett and Winehouse won a Grammy for “Body and Soul” in 2012 after Winehouse had passed from alcohol poisoning; the track was her last recording. Between shows this summer, such as the Cuthbert performance June 12, he will record an entire jazz album with Lady Gaga. 

Later in the CBS interview, Bennett was asked if he had plans to retire. “Not at all,” Bennett said, adding later, “I’m 86 and never been hotter.” It seems the music world agrees.

Tony Bennett plays 7:30 pm Wednesday, June 12, at the Cuthbert Amphitheater; $46-$111.