With the pair’s duets album, Cheek To Cheek, ready to come out Sept. 23 — and off to a hot start with the first single, a rendition of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” that topped the Jazz Digital Songs chart — Bennett tells Billboard he and Gaga envision touring to support the set as well as a follow-up project that’s already in their crosshairs.
“We’ll be touring together for quite a while,” Bennett says. “She’s kind of exhausted from playing for 45,000 people a night. She said, ‘Let’s just play for three to six weeks in Las Vegas.’ She has the idea of just performing at Radio City for possibly two weeks with her. It’s amazing how she’s planning out how we should perform together, and it won’t be those 45,000-seat places because I work in acoustical halls all the time, or outdoor theaters sometimes. I’m not interested in playing to 45,000 people a night, so she’s finding places where we could work for three or four days, or three or four weeks, in one place at a time. That’s how she wants to work with me.”
No live dates have been announced for Bennett and Gaga yet; the two will, however, debut “Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek To Cheek LIVE!” on Oct. 24 at 9 p.m. ET as part of PBS’ Great Performances series. Meanwhile, Bennett says he and Gaga are already eyeing a follow-up to Cheek To Cheek — a recreation of Cole Porter’s 1936 song cycle “Red, Hot & Blue.”
“I received the music for that,” Bennett says. “When I told Lady Gaga, I said, ‘If (‘Cheek To Cheek’) goes well, we could do a follow-up with Cole Porter, ‘Red, Hot & Blue.’ She said, ‘Why wait? Let’s do it right away.’ So we’re gonna do two albums in a row with her. We’ll have to try and do that as soon as possible, just as a follow-up for a second album.”
Bennett and Gaga have been planning the duets album ever since she joined him for his Grammy Award-winning Duets II album in 2011, which turned Bennett into an instant fan. “She’s a sensational jazz singer,” Bennett gushes. “She’s always tried to tell everybody she really sings good jazz, and this is going to be the first time that people realize she’s quite the singer. They’re going to be fascinated (by) how well she sings and improvises jazz.” Meanwhile, he’s hoping that Gaga singing the standards will bring a new and younger audience to the Great American Songbook.
“(Gaga) has that audience in the palm of her hand,” Bennett explains, “and by doing this with her it’ll go right to those little kids. They’ll grow up listening to this music. It’s great music, and it’s never going to become dated. It’s never going to become old fashioned. It’s very intelligent music that everybody, and especially these young people, need to know and appreciate.”