Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga gave students the thrill of a lifetime on Monday afternoon when they put on a surprise master class for 700 students at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, Queens.
Bennett founded the school in 2001 and it has since become one of the highest performing public schools in the New York area. In a city that normally only sees graduation rates of 70 to 72%, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts normally gives diplomas to 96 to 98% of students.
Tony normally attends graduation but had a scheduling conflict this year, so he decided to surprise the school and bring along his friend and collaborator Lady Gaga. Moderated by NBC's Lester Holt, the pair talked on a variety of subjects from jazz music to the Great American Songbook and took questions from the audience. Bennett then sang The Very Thought of You while Gaga performed Every Time We Say Goodbye. An album by the two singers is expected later this year.
Bennett told the students "When I first heard Gaga sing my reaction was that she is going to be bigger than Elvis. She is so bright and intelligent and she has it. In jazz you either got it, the syncopation, the rhythm or you don't, and when I heard Gaga I said she's got it!"
Gaga added "When I am with Tony I feel like I am 15 years old at home listening to Ella and Coltrane records. The way he sings is effortless and so prolific. It's so liberating to be able to sing jazz, especially at this point in my career!"
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