There’s no question that the singers establish a bona fide artistic partnership on “Cheek to Cheek”. Better still, Lady Gaga meets Bennett on his musical territory, not the other away around, the accompanying jazz instrumentalists underscoring the point.

“Cheek to Cheek” is being released in standard and deluxe versions, the latter including 15 songs compared to 11 and emerging as the preferred album by far (additional bonus tracks are available on iTunes). But even the core material that appears on both versions makes for engaging listening.

No doubt Lady Gaga takes her biggest risk of the venture singing solo in Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life,” one of the most revered and demanding ballads in the jazz repertoire. There is a gutsiness to Lady Gaga’s interpretation, a willingness to lay emotions bare, that cannot be denied.

Bennett, too, gets his solo moments, nowhere more effectively than in Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady”. Bennett’s raw, searing account – with a devastating finale – deepens his catalog of profound balladry.

Howard Reich- Chicago Tribune