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Berklee's Signature Series Presents Great American Songbook: Night and Day-A Celebration of Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga

14/02/2024

Berklee's Signature Series Presents Great American Songbook: Night and Day-A Celebration of Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga The concert will feature music from the duo's Grammy-winning albums, Bennett's signature songs, and reimagined jazz-inflected covers of Gaga hits.

By

Tori Donahue

February 13, 2024

Photo by Getty Images

Berklee's Signature Series will present Great American Songbook: Night and Day-A Celebration of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, a tribute celebrating two of the most influential figures in popular culture who have changed the landscape of music through their collaboration, artistry, and originality. The concert will take place on Thursday, March 7, at 8:00 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center.

Produced by Maureen McMullan P.D. '09, the program will feature beloved musical selections from the pair's Grammy Award-winning duet albums, Cheek to Cheek and Love for Sale, alongside Bennett's signature songs and reimagined jazz-inflected covers of Gaga hits, arranged in a big swing band setting with strings. The concert will showcase the creative talents of Berklee singers, instrumentalists, arrangers, and dancers, who will breathe new life into some of the most timeless classics from the Great American Songbook with their fusion of craft, technique, and global influences.

The concert will also feature a variety of special guests performing alongside the student ensemble, including Bennett's long-standing touring and recording band members, guitarist Gray Sargent and bassist Marshall Wood. Sargent, who played with Bennett for over 20 years, and Wood, who held down the bass chair for 10 years, played on the Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga collaborative albums and tour dates. Tim Ray, professor in the Piano Department, will also be a special guest in the concert program. Ray, who has played with an extensive list of artists, including Aretha Franklin, Lyle Lovett, Kurt Elling, and Phil Woods, served as Bennett's most recent pianist and musical director, appearing in concerts with him from 2016 until his retirement from singing in 2021.

It is an absolute honor to pay tribute to these two iconic artists who have-together and separately-made an indelible mark on the landscape of music and popular culture, especially following the passing of Tony last year when so many of us reflected on his monumental legacy. And that it is taking place on the 50th anniversary of his receiving an honorary doctorate from Berklee just makes it all the more poignant, said McMullan. Watching our exceptional cast of over 100 Berklee students from 30 countries explore and interpret this timeless repertoire with their boundless talent and curiosity has been a joyous experience. We are also thrilled to welcome several veteran members of Tony Bennett's recording and touring band as our special guests, including Gray Sargent and Marshall Wood, as well as Berklee's own Tim Ray.

Bennett, a titan of jazz vocalists, was honored with a Berklee honorary doctorate in 1974. In 1981, he returned to the Berklee Performance Center to play a televised concert with Count Basie and his orchestra. His collaborations with Gaga began in 2011 when he saw her perform the jazz standard Orange Colored Sky at a fundraiser he was attending. Following two successful albums, the pair remained close friends and collaborators until Bennett's passing in 2023 at age 96.

Great American Songbook: Night and Day-A Celebration of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga will take place on Thursday, March 7, at 8:00 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center, located at 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. Admission is $15-$20 in advance and $20-$25 on the day of the show. Tickets are available online and at the Berklee box office.

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