Tony Bennett

It’s pretty poetic that Amy Winehouse’s final recording was a collaboration with Tony Bennett on the classic song “Body & Soul.” The tune will appear on Bennett’s upcoming Duets II album, which also features collaborations with Lady Gaga, Aretha Franklin, Carrie Underwood, and a host of other huge current stars.

“Body & Soul,” the album’s first official single, will drop next Wednesday, September 14, and Bennett himself spoke to Entertainment Weekly for a feature that will be gracing your local newsstand on Friday, September 16.

In the conversation, Bennett talked extensively about recording with the late chanteuse, who he saw as a kindred spirit carrying on an endangered musical legacy.

“What I love about Amy Winehouse is that, of all the singers since the Beatles, you automatically check everyone out who’s a lot younger, but there’s been such a big walk away from jazz,” Bennett told EW‘s Melissa Maerz. “Some people think that anyone could sing jazz, but they can’t. It’s a gift of learning how to syncopate but it’s also a spirit that you’re either born with or you’re not. And Amy was born with that spirit.”

Based on the clip below of Bennett and Winehouse in the studio (a brief bit of which appeared on the MTV Video Music Awards a few weeks ago), the late singer seemed at ease working with one of her idols on one of her dad’s favorite songs. Watch the clip here, and learn more about their interaction after the jump:

While they were recording “Body & Soul,” Bennett said that Winehouse was a tad overwhelmed by the whole experience until he put her at ease. “She was very nervous to perform, but I said, ‘You know, it sounds like you’re influenced by Dinah Washington.’ And all of the sudden, her whole life changed,” he explained. “She said, ‘How did you know that Dinah Washington is my goddess?’ She did some Dinah Washington licks, and from that moment on, she just relaxed. And it came out wonderful. She was like, ‘Tony understands me, you know?'”

“Jazz is a wonderful art,” he continues. “Listening to it, I compare it to watching the greatest tennis player who’s so intelligent about where he places the ball, it becomes effortless. The great ones that are very talented know just how to turn jazz singing into a performance that’s unforgettable. And Amy had that gift. The fact that she died at 27 years old is just horrible to me. If she had lived, she would’ve been right up there with Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington. It’s just a tragedy.”

You can check out the full feature on Bennett in next Friday’s issue, and “Body & Soul” will be out next week, with the rest of the Duets II album arriving on September 20.