Bennett, Wonder planning album together


DETROIT -- Following their Grammy Award-winning duet this year, Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder are hatching plans for a full-scale album collaboration.

Bennett said that he and Wonder are "just now sketching out" plans for the album, with no firm timetable yet for the recording. "I know he wants to do a jazz album," Bennett said. "I'm interested in that myself."

The pair's Grammy, for best pop collaboration with vocals, came for their rendition of "For Once in My Life" from Bennett's "Duets: An American Classic," which also took home the best traditional pop vocal album trophy. Bennett said Wonder is "my favorite guy. He's so deep, and he's such a creative artists at all time. We enjoyed ('For Once in My Life') so much and we enjoyed being with each other, it seems natural to do more together."

Bennett has no shortage of other projects coming as he waits to work with Wonder, however. He's the subject of an upcoming episode of PBS' American Masters series; "Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends," which was executive produced by Clint Eastwood, debuts on Sept. 12 and features interviews as well as performance footage, including some culled from the 2005 Monterey Jazz Festival.

On Sept. 25 he releases "Tony Bennett Sings the Ultimate American Songbook, Vol. 1," a 15-song compilation of personal favorites that includes a duet with k.d. lang on "Moonglow." On Oct. 1 he'll publish "Tony Bennett in the Studio -- A Life of Music and Art" which includes more than 200 of his paintings, a preface by former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and a foreword by author Mitch Albom. And the 2006 NBC special, "Tony Bennett: An American Classic," is nominated for eight Emmy Awards, which will be presented on Sept. 16.

"I have this unusual attitude that you just keep learning and keep studying," Bennett said of being the hardest-working 81-year-old in show business. "I don't have to do it, but I have to do it, if you know what I mean. I don't care to retire at all, and (the work) keeps you young. You have something to live for, and I still have so much to learn."