❚ IT’S PRETTY CLEAR who is the jazz singer in this much-anticipated video (above), released today. The old croaker Tony Bennett may be the last living legend in the crooner tradition, but he is utterly outclassed by the astonishing retro inflections of Amy Winehouse. She was his fan, so the 1930 standard Body and Soul, written for another showbiz legend Gertrude Lawrence, makes a noble epitaph for Amy. However, look to any number of earlier performances on video to appreciate the full measure of her sinuous, soulful, contralto voice, her body and her soul. She sang, as the Guardian obituary said, “as if her heart were damaged beyond repair”. Watch, as one example, her live acoustic version of Love is a Losing Game in 2007 (below) through to its ineffable conclusion.
Amy Winehouse Foundation launches
on her 28th birthday
➢ From today’s Daily Telegraph:
“ The Winehouse family have launched the foundation to mark what would have been the singer’s 28th birthday. Her mother Janis said: “We want to give money to projects that make a direct difference. It is a source of great comfort to know that Amy would be proud of this.”
“ One of the first major sources of income for the Amy Winehouse Foundation will be from her duet with Tony Bennett, which is released today. It was given its first play on the Ken Bruce show on Radio 2 this morning. Winehouse’s father Mitch said: “Amy was very generous and we kept coming back to the thought of how much she loved children. It seemed appropriate that the focus of our work should be with young people, those who are vulnerable either through ill health or circumstance. ”
Amy’s last studio recording
❏ The duet with her 85-year-old hero Tony Bennett, and titled Body and Soul, was Amy’s last recording. Released today by Columbia Records, the song was laid down on March 23 at Abbey Road Studios in London for Bennett’s upcoming Duets II album.
Amy was found dead at her flat in north London on July 23. Her critically acclaimed second album Back to Black, produced by Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, was much more Motown-flavoured R&B than her jazz-influenced debut, Frank, which won an Ivor Novello Award and prompted Billboard to describe her voice as “astounding”. Released in 2006, Back to Black reached No 1 several times in the UK, No 7 in the US, and yielded five hit singles aching with explicit and heartfelt lyrics, most notably Rehab. Renewed demand during the past month sent it back to No 1 to become the UK’s best-selling album of the 21st century.