Tony Bennett is hardly an extroverted entertainer. He doesn't pitter-patter about the stage. There are no off-color jokes (or any jokes, for that matter). And, mercifully, he never engages in rambling reminiscences about his life in show biz.
He just sings. Oh, does he just sing!
Bennett's concert at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall Saturday night was a moving, witty, sophisticated, heart-fluttering celebration of the glories of American pop music. For two solid hours, the songs paraded by, almost nonstop, with Bennett's voice at the head of the column.
And that voice! At various times it was caressing, romantic, vulnerable and confident, in short, loaded with all the emotional trappings that a love song demands. Bennett not only sings a song, he takes it apart and reassembles the lyrics and melodies to suit his sublime musical sensibility. From the meringue-like lightness of "My Favorite Things" to the pliantly husky murmurings of "Fly Me to the Moon," to a rousing Ellington medley, Bennett's gold-dipped vocal chords provided all the chills and thrills of a gaggle of show-biz smoothies.
Tony Bennett is a singer and nothing but a singer. Who could ask for anything more?