U.S. Street Date 05/22/12
While the street date is a tad early for a review of this release, in the day of the digital download the old street date will soon be going the way of the analog clock and the old fashioned cover art. Sometimes a release such as Convergence is simply too good to sit on that long. There is some compelling back story here with Tony Bennett and Bill Evans having collaborated on two releases back in the 1970's and Convergence serving as a reminder of the elegance and timeless grace that once was vocal jazz. Far more than a set of passable covers, Convergence takes the work of two iconic masters and simply advances the special brand of eloquence and a virtual songbook roughly forty years to the present.
A pure cover record would be the equivalent of tap dancing in a musical minefield especially when taking on two legendary recordings that few modern musicians have dared to tackle. Convergence is a delightful sonic marriage of the Tony Bennet/Bill Evans Album and Together Again. What makes Convergence is a harmonious cohesion of musical thought and presentation. Two voices becoming one. Vocalist Allan Harris does a first rate job on "My Foolish Heart" and pianist Takana Miyamoto gives a virtuoso performance to help set the ambient quality that fills this lovely release. "Waltz For Debby" is a classic rendition of an iconic tune where Harris and Miyamoto place their own incredible high level indelible artistic mark on a classic from Bennet and Evans without disrespecting themselves or the original. "You Don't Know What Love Is" could be one of the better tunes on this release considering the obvious that taste is in fact subjective. Harris gives a magnificent vocal performance with impeccable phrasing and timing that is effortless. Miyamoto keeps a subtle but very lyrical presence pushing this tune to a different level than previously recorded. "You Must Believe In Spring" is a gorgeous ballad delivered with an endearing emotive quality and a tenderness mirrored by Miyamoto's performance on piano.
Time marches steadily on. Tony Bennet will not be in his 40's again and Evans left us far too soon. The joy in Convergence is that two artists of such high and gifted caliber are able to take a discography that has earned a more than special place in the jazz pantheon of classics and reinvent or perhaps reshape the memories of a forgotten past and give us treasured memories of the future.
Tracks: My Foolish Heart; Days Of Wine And Roses; But Beautiful; Waltz For Debby; You Don't Know What Love Is; Young and Foolish; The Touch Of Your Lips; You Must Believe In Spring; Some Other Time; We'll Be Together Again.
Personnel: Allan Harris: vocals; Takana Miyamoto: piano.
Special Thanks To Amy At DL Media!