Company News

Tony Bennett Paints The 2010 New Orleans Jazz Festival Poster

Sony Columbia Records - 02/01/2010

Legendary performer and 15-time Grammy Winner Tony Bennett graced the stage at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in 2009 to the delight of fans that attended that exhilarating performance. This year, the singer who paints under his family name Benedetto, will participate as the official visual artist of the Festival by painting the image to be displayed on the Festival's annual poster. Bennett's portrait of his friend and colleague, the late Louis Prima will be reproduced as the 2010 New Orleans Jazz Festival poster in honor of the centennial anniversary of Prima's birth, a New Orleans native, which is celebrated in December of this year. To view the poster image, visit nojazzfest.com.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100201/NY47752)

Bennett, who is an accomplished visual artist with three of his original paintings included in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution, commented, "Louis Prima was an absolute original and I was thrilled to be asked by the Jazz Festival to paint his portrait for this year's poster art - he was an exceptional performer and a dear friend and he embodied the buoyant spirit of New Orleans."

Quint Davis, producer/director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, said, "Tony Bennett's performance at the 2009 Jazz Fest was a highlight for everyone who attended. We are honored to present his portrait of Louis Prima as this year's Festival poster. This tremendous tribute to one of New Orleans' great musicians by one of America's great musical artists is the kind of celebration of our culture to which Jazz Fest itself is dedicated."

Bennett's silk-screened poster is the first edition in a new generation of poster series for Jazz Festival, "Performance Art: The Musical Artist As Visual Artist," which will showcase the visual artistry of musical performers. Bennett's poster, titled "The Chief of New Orleans: A Portrait of Louis Prima" will be available in four numbered editions: 12,500 unsigned posters on archival vellum paper, 23" x 35" ($69); 2,000 artist-signed prints on museum-standard 100% cotton rag paper, 24" x 37" ($295); 500 artist-signed remarques bearing a hand drawing by the artist and the estate-stamped signature of Louis Prima, 25"x 39" ($795); and, 300 C-marques (over-painted canvases) 26" x 40" ($995). The Bennett editions are available for pre-ordering on the website www.art4now.com and on site at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival which begins April 23 and runs through May 2. Further information is available by calling toll-free 1-888-art-4-now (278-4669) or 504-733-3332.

About Tony Bennett:

The world knows Tony Bennett as a peerless interpreter of the American songbook. His singing career just entered its sixth decade and he has 15 Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and two Emmy Awards. He was named a Kennedy Center Honoree and NEA Jazz Master and the United Nations presented him with their Humanitarian Award and Citizen of the World Award.

Yet as a child growing up in Queens New York he wanted to be a painter. He studied at the School of Art and Design in Manhattan and continued with private studios and teachers. It's an open secret that art is as much a part of his life as music.

Bennett paints under his family name of Benedetto. He lives out his visual passions through this alter ego: As Tony Bennett tours the world, Anthony Benedetto paints and sketches a rarified daily scene, from intimate musical gatherings to international cityscapes. The United Nations twice commissioned his artwork, including their 50th Anniversary "Peace" and "Brotherhood" (purchased by Oprah Winfrey). Three Bennett originals are part of the Smithsonian Institution's permanent collection, including his portrait of Duke Ellington, which was recently accepted into the National Portrait Gallery. Bennett's work is also on permanent display at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio and is part of the collection at the National Arts Club in New York. Bennett's work graced the collections of the late Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra and artist Robert Rauschenberg and is owned by President Bill Clinton, Carol Burnett, Whoopi Goldberg, Donald Trump and Katie Couric, among a select few. The first book of his paintings, "Tony Bennett: What My Heart Has Seen," was released by Rizzoli in 1996 and his second, "Tony Bennett In the Studio" was published in 2007. At 83, he is a master of the arts and has earned his status of living legend.

About Louis Prima:

2010 marks the centennial year of Louis Prima's birth. Prima's contributions to the American music scene are measured by the decade. In the 1930's he took his New Orleans trumpet and vocal style to New York and Los Angeles where, with his New Orleans Gang, he helped define an era. Prima wrote Sing, Sing, Sing, the Swing Era anthem immortalized in Benny Goodman's later cover. The success of the Big Band sound led Prima to form a 22-piece orchestra that regularly topped the Big Band Era charts of the 40's.

Big Bands having faded by the 50's, Prima moved to Las Vegas were he fashioned the Witnesses with New Orleans' great tenor saxophonist Sam Butera and defined yet another music scene. That band's shuffle beat combined with its New Orleans jazz roots laid the foundation for early Rock & Roll. Prima relaunched his recording career in 1957 with Just a Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody; two songs that Prima combined so successfully that Van Halen's David Lee Roth had a hit with Prima's joinder in 1985. In 1958 Prima won the first Vocal Category Grammy for That Old Black Magic. In 1966 he gave voice to King Louis in Disney's The Jungle Book, the album of which went gold.

In 1982 Sing Sing Sing was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, followed in 1999 by his 1957 album The Wildest. During his five-decade career he recorded nearly 800 songs and was a regular on The Ed Sullivan Show where he showcased the incredible talent of Butera, Keely Smith and Gia Maione. Even after his passing in 1975, Louis Prima still spins gold: The Louis Prima Capital Collectors Series compilation CD went gold in 2008 - and top the charts: His Live From Las Vegas hit the Billboard Top Jazz Album chart in 2005. If you don't know Prima, you No Capicia.

About New Orleans Jazz Festival Poster:

The poster series, begun in 1975 by ProCreations Publishing Company (nowadays art4now), is the most collected poster in the world. Early copies sell for 200 to 300 times their original purchase price. Since their inception, the posters have been crafted as affordable fine art numbered and limited-edition silk-screen prints. They regularly sell out annually before the end of each festival and have raised over $15 million for the non-profit New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, which stages the event. Graphic artists dominated the first generation of the series in the 1970's and 80's, followed in the 1990's and 2000's by painters who marked the second generation. This year a third generation in the Jazz Festival Poster Series is being established with the launch of "Performance Art: The Musical Artist As Visual Artist," featuring the singer and visual artist Tony Bennett as the first multi-media talent to create the first edition. The popularity of the Jazz Festival Poster Series has helped make New Orleans the world's art poster capitol.

Art4now also produces BayouWear™ brand tropical clothing - wearable wash & wear art reflecting New Orleans' unique culture - and PosterCards™ - a postcard collection of the entire New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival poster series from its inception in 1975. These items and past posters in the series, the sale of which all benefit the Festival Foundation, are on view at www.art4now.com, where visitors can also join the mailing list to be notified of releases in the Jazz Fest poster series.

IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING IMAGE REPRODUCTION: Attached is a copyrighted Image of the poster described above. Use of the Image is limited to editorial purposes. The Image may not be altered, cropped or over-printed. No commercial reproduction is permitted. The Image is not authorized for publication on the web or by email, as part of a book or photoplay, as a stand-alone item, such as a print or card, nor may it be placed upon any merchandise intended for sale. The Image may not be reproduced by any electronic means other than as part of a television newscast. All reproduction must credit art4now and the artist, and direct the viewer, reader or listener to www.art4now.com for further information. In print publications regularly employing copyright notices, and otherwise where possible, reproduction shall include the following notice:

Poster TM & © 2010 N.O.J.& H.F. Inc. -- Original Painting © 2010 Benedetto Arts, LLC. -- www.art4now.com

  www.tonybennett.net
  www.benedettoarts.com
  www.exploringthearts.org
  www.art4now.com
  www.nojazzfest.com

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Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100201/NY47752
AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/
AP PhotoExpress Network: PRN20
PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com

SOURCE: Columbia Records

CONTACT: Matthew Goldman, for NOJHF, +1-504-410-4100; or for Tony
Bennett, contact Sylvia Weiner, RPM Productions, +1-908-301-1779,
sweiner@rpm-productions.com

Web Site: http://www.art4now.com/