THIS week my Influences column looks at the great crooner Tony Bennett. I figured that his Italian background and Frank Sinatra were important to him, but I was surprised to hear Leonardo da Vinci and Art Tatum, the most ornate and technically accomplished pianists in the history of jazz, as major inspirations. (His Sinatra anecdote, by the way, is one of my favorite things I've heard this year.)
HERE is that piece.
And we didn't have room for his words on painter John Singer Sargent -- here they are.
I have been painting and drawing all my life and studying the great
masters but my all time favorite painter is John Singer Sargent. I have always
felt that art should be about truth and beauty and for me, Sargent represents
the perfect mix of that approach. His portraits are gorgeous, but he
still keeps the humanity of the person he is painting in mind and doesn't over-glorify the subject.
Bennett will be in Orange County at the Segerstrom Center Saturday night.
Interesting at least to immediate family: My paternal grandfather, Sammy Timberg, who was a vaudevillian and later a Tin Pan Alley songwriter, landed songs with some of the greats, including Sinatra, but always pined to get Bennett to sing one of his, and never did. (I try not to hold that against either of them.)