Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck are two of the greatest minds to ever stand and sit in the performance of classic modern Jazz .  In 1962, fate brought them together with President Kennedy, for a cobbled-together performance that has now just recently been rediscovered in the aftermath of Dave Brubeck’s death at 91 years and 364 days in December, 2012, and the result is the instant-wonder:  Bennett & Brubeck — The White House Sessions, Live — 1962!

Here’s the official backstory on the Bennett/Brubeck Kismet:

A previously unreleased jewel and perfect introduction to both American jazz and the artistry of two geniuses, Bennett & Brubeck – The White House Sessions – Live 1962 presents, for the first time ever, the complete Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck performance from the White House Seminar American Jazz Concert, held on August 28, 1962. With the Washington Monument as the evening’s backdrop — the show was moved from its original Rose Garden location to the larger Sylvan Theater grounds nearby to accommodate the crowd — the concert was an end-of-summer event thrown by the John F. Kennedy White House for college students who’d been working as interns in the nation’s capital.

One of the great lost treasures of American musical history, the Tony Bennett-Dave Brubeck White House Seminar performance came about when the artists — each already on the bill with his own ensemble — agreed to seize the moment with an impromptu set. While the Bennett-Brubeck recording of “That Old Black Magic” had surfaced on the occasional compilation (Brubeck’s 1971’s out-of-print LP, Summit Sessions, and 2001’s Vocal Encounters), the rest of the Bennett and Brubeck performances — an hour’s worth of music — were a mythical lost object in the Sony Music Entertainment vaults until finally surfacing through a fortuitous discovery last December, just weeks after Brubeck’s passing on December 5, 2012 (one day shy of his 92nd birthday).

What is immediately lost in the listening is any sense of tension or place and what is gained in the identical instant is that awesome and ethereal place where time stops and the real world begins.

Bennett and Brubeck make a fantastic musical couple and the energy of a young Tony Bennett and an established, but still hungry, Dave Brubeck, creates an elastic experience that wobbles the sound mind with the human conundrum of hearing something for the first time that has been lost and buried for 51 years and, amazingly, “Suspended in Amber” takes on a whole new significance as — “Lost in the Vault” — and we are made younger and better in this compressive time-travel that brings history into the now to become a new, undiscovered reality of truth and well-being.  Tony’s singing is rugged and raw. Dave’s piano is rough and resounding. Together, Bennett and Brubeck become the definition of a new smooth and swinging Jazz from antiquity.


  1. Thanks for the great review. I’m looking forward to giving it a listen as I am fond of both artists.

    1. It’s great to hear them on their own, and then together. They were truly thrown together on the spot and you get that sense of trying to find a common footing for their songs.

  2. What an awesome find after being lost to the world for so long– although I’m sure those lucky interns never forgot! I can’t wait to listen to “There Will Never Be Another You”. I probably have every rendition of that song that exists.

    1. Love the story about “There Will Never Be Another You,” Emily! This version is raw and lilting and romantic and swinging. Tony is so grand of voice and the bassline is just smooth and thumping.

      1. Yes, I think Tony’s voice is nothing if not big, which is just what this song needs! This will probably be my go-to song to blast whenever I have the house to myself.

        1. I love it how you collect various renditions of your favorite songs. I do that a lot! I probably purchase more versions of my favorite songs than I do new albums.

    1. It’s a surprise. Totally impromptu performance. I love it that they left the crosstalk between Tony and Dave in the mix as they try to figure out what to sing.

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