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In living legends

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He's a cat, a crooner, an avid painter, a living legend: Hyperbole aside, a night with Tony Bennett (pictured above) is a chance to hear a guy who's ridden out more fads than you can count. Since his '80s "comeback" (aided by Bennett's son), the native New Yorker still packs more romance and charisma into his vocals than guys half his age. Rat-pack style, the man still wears a suit and tie when he swings, and brother, this 75-year-old still swings, sometimes logging in 200 dates a year. His secret? As he put it in a recent interview: "Frank Sinatra once told me to just stay with the music. Don't do any tricks or novelty songs just to get a hit." On Bennett's recent disc, Playin' with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues, he collaborates with a cast that mixes it up between fellow heavyweights (Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder) and newer artists such as Sheryl Crow and recent tourmate k.d. lang. Hear Bennett perform with the N.C. Symphony this Wednesday, May 22, at the Regency Park Amphitheatre in Cary. Call 834-4000 for details. --Angie Carlson

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