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Bennett worked with Winehouse in March, recording the Johnny Greene song “Body and Soul” for his upcoming Duets II album.
He said in a statement to Spinner, “Amy Winehouse was an artist of immense proportions and I am deeply saddened to learn of her tragic passing. She was an extraordinary musician with a rare intuition as a vocalist and I am truly devastated that her exceptional talent has come to such an early end.
“She was a lovely and intelligent person and when we recorded together she gave a soulful and extraordinary performance. I was honored to have the opportunity to sing with her. It had been my sincere hope that she would be able to overcome the issues she was battling and I send my deepest sympathy to her father Mitchell, her entire family and all of those who loved her.”
Earlier this month, Bennett told the U.K.’s Guardian that Winehouse was his favorite collaborator on the project, which also features John Mayer, Queen Latifah, Carrie Underwood, Lady Gaga and Willie Nelson. “You know Amy Winehouse was my favorite to perform with on the whole album. Every great artist I ever met, Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Pearl Bailey, they’d always have the butterflies. And Amy Winehouse was like that, she was always apprehensive of what was going to happen.”
Bennett said he was warned about Winehouse’s oftentimes troubled state but didn’t have any issues with her, “Everybody just said, ‘Oh, I don’t know how you’re going to handle her.’ but I felt completely different. She really loves to perform.”
Bennett said he and Winehouse were in sync the moment he compared her to jazz singer Dinah Washington. “The minute she heard that, her eyes popped wide open and completely inspired she said, ‘You know that I like Dinah Washington?’ I said, ‘She was a friend of mine.’ She was all excited that I knew Dinah Washington and that was the main inspiration. And from that moment on, the record came out just beautiful.”
The 17-track Duets II is due in stores Sept. 20.
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