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Bobby Short: Late Night At the Cafe Carlyle

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Album Review

After more than three decades, off and on, Bobby Short moved from Atlantic Records to the audiophile Telarc label, which wisely began the new association by tracking him to his lair, the Cafe Carlyle of the Carlyle Hotel on Manhattan's Upper East Side, where he had been entertaining patrons for a quarter-century. Captured over three nights in June 1991, the 66-year-old singer/pianist presented a ballad set appropriate to the "late night" billing of the title. He doesn't worry about repeating tracks from his many modest sellers for Atlantic, revisiting Rodgers & Hart's "Do I Hear You Saying 'I Love You'" (first heard on Speaking of Love in 1958) at the outset, and also including new versions of the Gershwins' "Love Is Here to Stay," Cole Porter's "I Get a Kick out of You," and the standard "Body and Soul," all of which have graced previous discs. It doesn't matter, of course. Short was more a live performer than a recording artist, despite his extensive catalog, and his job was to give you heartfelt, animated, and sophisticated readings of evergreens like "Night and Day," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," and "Too Marvelous for Words" (the last of which, come to think of it, he did previously on the home video At the Carlyle, filmed in the late '70s and released in 1986). Telarc was studious about getting a digital signal direct to disc, resulting in great clarity, all the better to hear the glasses clink during quiet passages. The album was released on the label's jazz division and Donald Elfman's liner notes use the word "jazz" frequently. But of course Short, who bills himself as "a saloon singer," was no more a jazz artist than ever, even though he obligingly threw in an instrumental version of Duke Ellington's "Satin Doll" on which bassist Beverly Peer and drummer Robert Scott get to do solos. (The marketing strategy worked, however. The album earned a placing in Billboard's jazz chart.)

Biography

Born: September 15, 1924 in Danville, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Nightclub entertainer Bobby Short performed from the 1930s to the 2000s, primarily singing the songs of the masters of pre-rock popular song, especially Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Noël Coward, and Rodgers & Hart, while accompanying himself on piano. The quintessential cabaret artist, the dapper Short, who often made best-dressed lists, perfectly articulated the lyrics in a husky baritone, delighting his well-heeled customers, particularly at the ritzy Cafe Carlyle of the Carlyle Hotel on the...
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Bobby Short: Late Night At the Cafe Carlyle, Bobby Short
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