Back in 2009, I saw Lady Gaga perform stripped-down, just her voice and a piano, at a Marc Jacobs after-party during fashion week, and since then I've never boxed her in with other Top 40 performers. As my mom puts it, "You can't fake the old stuff," and it's with that sentiment in mind that I sipped a dirty martini and took in the jazz stylings of Gaga yesterday evening.
To coincide with the announcement of their long-awaited jazz album, Cheek to Cheek (out September 23), Gaga and frequent collaborator Tony Bennett gave a performance at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center for their PBS special, "Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live!, which will air in October. While, painfully, I can't divulge what I saw, I can say that their just-released single, a take on Cole Porter's "Anything Goes," speaks for itself.
"There might be 60 years between me and Tony, but there's no distance between us when we sing jazz," explained Gaga. "It's really of another time, and I hope with this music we can bring back that sentiment of love, kindness, and joy that I'm getting to experience working with him every day. I just want to spread that around the world."
Their album will be a mix of jazz standards, both duets and solos, with classics like Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," and Ella Fitzgerald's "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered." Bennett himself will tell you, Gaga is at home in the world of jazz. So much so, in fact, that she says jazz comes easier than pop.
"You know, it's funny, but jazz comes a little more comfortable for me than pop music, than R&B music," Gaga said in an interview. "I've sung jazz since I was 13 years old, which is kind of like my little secret that Tony found out. So this is almost easier for me than anything else."
Now that the cat's out of the bag, enjoy.