Friday, October 26, 2012

The Zen of Bennett

After hearing some rumblings of this film from Chocko who reported live and direct when it first screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and seeing some of his red carpet photos from the event, he sent out warning arrows to the tribe that The Zen of Bennett was playing at IFC with Tony Bennett scheduled to be in attendance for the October 24th screenings! So off we went to IFC to investigate and extrapolate! Below is a cross-post from our native haunts at Planet Chocko!

(Tony Bennett and son - Danny Bennett: photo by mr c)

The documentary, The Zen of Bennett takes us on a behind the scenes look at Tony Bennett and what makes this legend tick even up to his gingerly age of 85 years young. From the onset of the film, Bennett preaches what he practices – that everything about yourself – your aura, your looks, your every move, your work should be about quality. No time should be wasted or vacated by anything less than being your best. So there begins the pace that the legendary singer sets as we follow him to various studios (NJ,London,Italy) for a recording session with some well known and talented musicians/vocalist in their own right including Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse, Natalie Cole, John Mayer, Lady Gaga, Michael Buble, Carrie Underwood, and legends like Willie Nelson, Andrea Boccelli, and Aretha Franklin. We get to see the amazing interaction between Bennett and the current artists of today – how he nurtures, compliments, and basically passes the torch from a lion like himself to the young pride! You would imagine Bennett and Aretha Franklin’s duet performance would of been the most explosive in terms of energy but it seemed like the Bennett – Lady Gaga combination was pretty darn earth shattering! It was also great to see Tony work his gentle demeanor and playfulness with Michael Buble and Amy Winehouse to ease the anxiety pains in the studio. It was very touching to see how Bennett was truly concerned for Winehouse and her battle with the demons. You can catch Tony’s Zen like magic (not in a religious way) as he coddles Amy Winehouse to make her feel more comfortable with her fidgety self in the recording session. Winehouse and Bennett teamed up for a smoky, down and dirty version of “Body and Soul”. Unfortunately thereafter, the tragic death of Amy would cause a ripple of sadness within Bennett.

Not everything is all peaches and cream & Zen like with Tony as we see some examples of being stubborn and cranky at times but hell – who’s perfect? Michael Buble’s interview with the media causes concern for Bennett as he misinterprets the message as being old. Another incident in Italy at Andrea Boccelli’s home/studio will question someones work ethic. Don’t even talk about rearranging the tempo and flow of the songs!

We also had the privilege to see the singing legend’s other passion – drawing and painting! It was fun watching Tony do a quick sketch of Willie Nelson in the studio. The Zen of Bennett, not to be confused with the religious aspects of Buddhism portrayed a quiet, compassionate, and tender side of our subject as he kept all things classy! I can easily see how this man remains young at heart, humble, & successful. It’s all because of family dynamics and the tight bond between them.

Tony Bennett fan or not, The Zen of Bennett will give you a different perspective with living/appreciating life to the fullest and will perhaps touch your tender button. At the very least it will bring the sexy back to wearing ties and with making sure that those shoes get polished correctly!

The Zen of Bennett continues to screen at IFC Theaters in NYC until 10/30!

Those that are fiending for Tony Bennett and the above mentioned artists & others collaborate, do yourself some justice and buy the DUETS II album!

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