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TONY! TONY! TONY!

TONY BENNETT IS GETTING OLDER--AND BETTER.

Maybe so. After all, few would have predicted the Nineties Bennett would sound even better than the Fifties model. Others in the business have also noticed this upswing in quality: Perfectly Frank and its lovely successor, Steppin' Out, deservedly earned Grammys, and MTV Unplugged, a CD version of a television special cut earlier this year, has topped the jazz charts for more than four months. These projects have led to even more activity for Bennett, including an appearance on the upcoming Bob Hope Christmas special (he can't say enough about the lovely luncheon with Bob and his wife, Delores, that he was invited to during taping) and the planning of a one-man Broadway show set to debut in the fall of 1995. "I still have the creative urge to come up with something vital," he confides. "Everything's been done, but to come up with a fresh approach is nice.

"It's a phenomenon," he continues. "I'm 68, and all of a sudden the young MTV crowd has taken to me and considers me cool. I'm met with the same enthusiasm that I was when I first started and had all of the young fan clubs. It's thrilling, actually. It makes everything seem worthwhile."

Tony Bennett. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 15, Paramount Theatre, 1631 Glenarm Place, $33, 290-TIXS or 825-4904.

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