Albums

$25.49

Crossover - Released December 8, 1989 | Rhino Atlantic

$14.49

Crossover - Released October 16, 2007 | Rhino Atlantic

After springing for three double-LP songbook albums in three years devoted to Cole Porter, Noël Coward, and George Gershwin, Atlantic Records tracked Bobby Short to his lair for a fourth two-disc collection in December 1973, setting up recording equipment in the tiny confines of the Cafe Carlyle where Short had maintained a permanent residency since 1968. There, over two nights, the tapes picked up a typical selection of standards by Porter, Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, and other interwar songwriting masters, plus some more recent material, played by Short's piano trio, which also featured Beverly Peer on bass and Richard Sheridan on drums. The singer/pianist's talent lay in mixing his spirited readings of pop standards like "On the Sunny Side of the Street" and "I Get a Kick Out of You" with sophisticated, amusing fare like "Miss Otis Regrets," earthy blues pronouncements like "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues," and the cream of contemporary Broadway. This last was represented by several selections by Broadway's leading songwriter of the early '70s, Stephen Sondheim. Short borrowed "Sorry-Grateful" from Company, "Losing My Mind" from Follies, and "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music. In each case, these were ballads of romantic frustration, and Short treated them reverently, perhaps a bit too reverently. Thankfully, the listener was never far from a change of mood on this album, making for a full evening that mixed uptown with down-home, all delivered by a smiling man in a tuxedo. Given the live setting, however, the editors might have been advised to include more spoken remarks and to refrain from fading the sound out after every track. As it was, most of the time, Live at the Café Carlyle came off as a regular studio album that happened to have applause rather than evoking the spontaneous and seamless feel of a live album. [In 2006, Collectables Records reissued Live at the Café Carlyle as a single-disc CD.) ~ William Ruhlmann
$20.49

Crossover - Released April 14, 2009 | Rhino Atlantic

The pairing of sophisticated cabaret singers of two generations -- sexagenarian Mabel Mercer and merely middle-aged Bobby Short -- in a concert at Manhattan's Town Hall on May 19, 1968, was an inspired idea on the part of promoter George Wein, and an even better choice for a double-LP release by Atlantic Records. Both performers were longtime signees to the label, which made things easy. The first LP belonged to Short, who, backed by his usual cohorts, bassist Beverly Peer and drummer Dick Sheridan, turned in a typically appealing set that began with a quartet of Cole Porter songs and went on to a couple of Cy Coleman songs. His expertise on the music of these songwriters was well established, but he went on to try some jazzier and bluesier material, notably "Gimme a Pigfoot (And a Bottle of Beer)" and Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's "Something to Live For," varying these selections with the witty novelties "And Her Mother Came Too" and "On the Amazon." Mercer's set, heard on the second disc, was not so diverse, but her precise rendering of a set of light, romantic lyrics and winning melodies, also dipping into the Porter and Coleman songbooks, kept the audience transfixed. The two returned together for the encore to duet playfully on "The 59th Street Bridge Song" and, appropriately, Coleman's "Here's to Us." The result was a stylish musical evening that harked back decades in New York society and nightlife, but managed to seem utterly contemporary, and it's effectively captured here. ~ William Ruhlmann
$15.49

Crossover - Released July 7, 2017 | Housemaster Records

$18.99

Crossover - Released November 19, 2012 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

The success of Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, which opened at the Nederlander Theater on Broadway on May 12, 1981, and ran 333 performances, until June 30, 1982 (Horne's 65th birthday) was a cumulative one. Horne had been performing in nightclubs, theaters, and casinos for 40 years, singing many of the same songs she sang at the Nederlander, but somehow the Broadway context and her perseverance combined to make this more than a glorified club act. Horne had the benefit of being an artist who had faced adversity (particularly, the vicissitudes of being an African-American star in Hollywood in the 1940s) and, if not triumphed, at least persisted, so that, as she reached her golden age, her struggles within the entertainment business could be seen as heroic. And, she was still at it, which made her, in the nomenclature of the time, a "survivor." That earned her gales of applause from theatergoers who had made the journey with her and from new fans who were too young to remember her and were discovering her anew. The show made some attempt to at least trace the outlines of Horne's career from being a Cotton Club chorus girl in the 1930s to a movie star in the '40s. After a clutch of initial songs, an announcer made a Cotton Club announcement, and there was a short dramatic scene featuring several other performers who gave Horne a breather by doing a few numbers. Otherwise, she periodically interrupted the run of songs for personal reminiscences about her career as introductions to songs with which she was associated from her movie and previous Broadway musical appearances. The bulk of the show, however, was given over to her typically moving interpretations of classic songs by Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Harold Arlen, and others. Among the new material, there was an emphasis on songs about endurance and self-reliance, in keeping with the overall theme, notably the Jim Croce hit "I Got a Name" and Paul Williams' "Life Goes On," both of which were turned into showstoppers. But then, the show was one showstopper after another, and a fitting capper to a great career. ~ William Ruhlmann
$12.99

Crossover - Released December 12, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

While on first listen Michael Franks' Passion Fruit appears to convey a jazz fusion approach, the inclusion of such contributors as Naná Vasconcelos, Astrud Gilberto and Toots Thielemans actually shows it to be a further continuation of Franks' championing of Brazilian music, with a light and deft touch. As on his previous outing, for which he brought in guest vocalists (Bonnie Raitt, Luther Vandross and Randy VanWarmer), on this album he enlists vocalist Kenny Rankin as well as Gilberto. This time, though, the vocalists appear to be a more natural fit. "Amazon," "Rainy Night in Tokyo" and "How the Garden Grows" reveals some of his best writing in some time, while "Now That Your Joystick's Broke" wouldn't be out of place lyrically alongside some of his clever, earlier songs. ~ Steve Matteo
$12.99

Crossover - Released December 12, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

$17.99
$15.49

Crossover - Released July 7, 2017 | Real Gone Music

Hi-Res
Following her split with husband and creative partner Louis Prima, vocalist Keely Smith signed with Frank Sinatra's Reprise Records for a series of finely curated and well-received albums designed to showcase her voice and relaunch her career. The first of these, 1963's Little Girl Blue/Little Girl New, featured arrangements by Sinatra's longtime collaborator, the illustrious Nelson Riddle, and was conceptualized in two parts with Side A, "Little Girl Blue," featuring ballads and Side B, "Little Girl New," focusing on more upbeat numbers. The result was a tour de force of an album that presented Smith as the solo star she deserved to be -- and which Sinatra had known she could be for many years prior. Thankfully, as per all of Sinatra's Reprise contracts, the artists kept the rights to the master recordings, which is where they remained until Smith struck her own deal with Real Gone Music for a series of reissues, including this 2017 expanded edition of Little Girl Blue/Little Girl New. Though she had recorded solo albums for Dot during her years with Prima, she had been somewhat overshadowed by the kitschy, flamboyant tone (and Grammy-winning success) of their performances, which often found her playing the cheeky straight man to her trumpeter husband's swing-era clown. Afforded far greater freedom on Sinatra's label, she was presented on Little Girl Blue/Little Girl New as an urbanely sophisticated hipster and a clarion diva in the mold of such similarly inclined contemporaries as June Christy, Anita O'Day, and Kay Starr. Cuts like her yearning take on "Here's That Rainy Day" and her languorously sensual reading of "I'll Never Be the Same Again" reveal her as a mature and knowing performer in contrast to the lighter, more comedic tone of her work with Prima. That said, she can still knock 'em dead as she does on the latter half of the album, her highly resonant voice slicing through uptempo swinger's like "I'm Gonna Live 'til I Die" and "I've Got a Lot of Livin' to Do." Ultimately, listening to Smith and her pointed yet dusky, golden-toned voice pouring out of Riddle's shimmering, sky-blue arrangements, one can easily see why Sinatra jumped at the chance to work with her. ~ Matt Collar
$15.49

Crossover - Released June 30, 1975 | Rhino Atlantic

In a sense, Bobby Short was only doing what he'd been doing for decades when he recorded a double LP of Cole Porter songs in 1971. But somehow, the reaction was different. The album actually spent a couple of months in the pop charts in the late winter and early spring of 1972, and its comparative commercial success "made me think for a moment that I'd actually become a recording star," he later noted. He hadn't, but he had consolidated his status as the premiere cabaret performer of his time, holding forth every season from the elegant Café Carlyle on New York's Upper East Side. Porter had always been a constant in his shows and recordings, but this album was something special, a collection largely made up of the songwriter's more obscure efforts, including three unpublished songs -- "By Candlelight," "Once Upon a Time," and "Why Don't We Try Staying Home" -- as well as the usually unperformed introductory verses to many songs, such as the witty compendium of historical figures that introduced "Just One of Those Things." Of course, not all the songs were winners, but they all had the sparkle of Porter's wit, which was brought out effectively by Short's smooth tenor, well-placed emphases, and precise pronunciation. Porter was the voice of wealth and sophistication in interwar show music, and Short's interpretations rendered his sentiments with just the right combination of zest and humor. Thus, the public may have responded more to this Short album than to others just because he had played to his strengths more than on any other effort. ~ William Ruhlmann
$15.49

Crossover - Released October 14, 2016 | Real Gone Music

Crossover - Released April 20, 2004 | WM Malaysia

Download not available
$20.49

Crossover - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For
Bobby Short is the Frank Sinatra of the supper clubs. Like Sinatra, Short is a consummate entertainer, a true professional. But the distance between Caesar's Palace and the Café Carlyle is approximately equal to the distance between Hoboken and uptown Manhattan, and Short's style is absolutely uptown. He has none of the hardscrabble swagger that infused Sinatra's work with pathos. If ever there was a time when Bobby Short was not invited to all the right parties, he doesn't let on, not for a note. The complete absence of angst makes Bobby Short Celebrates Rodgers & Hart easy listening indeed, but in the most wonderful way. His voice is unruffled and mellifluous, his phrasing spirited without ever being quite over the top. His articulation of Lorenz Hart's superb lyrics rests upon his witty and urbane piano playing like a marcelled starlet draped across a chaise lounge. His music is lovely without being too sweet, coquettish without being coarse, droll without being camp. Debonair, cosmopolitan and utterly self-possessed, Bobby Short is the just the man for the classic show tunes of Rodgers & Hart. Throughout this recording, he sustains a fantasy of New York that exists only on the big screen, and only in black and white. The national anthem of this magical dreamland is the "Hollywood Party" medley. This song is itself a delightful little movie -- a rousing start; drama, action, and intrigue in the middle; culminating in one big, big finale. ~ Jessica Jernigan

Crossover - Released January 15, 1996 | WM Malaysia

Download not available

Crossover - Released September 28, 1999 | WM Malaysia

Download not available

Crossover - Released June 17, 1996 | WM Malaysia

Download not available

Crossover - Released September 5, 2005 | Warner Music Canada

Download not available
$12.99

Crossover - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

For his fifth full-length Atlantic Records album, Bobby Short looked back 30 years to create a genre exercise titled The Mad Twenties. It turned out to be a wonderful evocation of the 1920s that restored that roaring decade's sense of musical abandon. Short, always a bravura performer, was abetted by appropriately jazzy Dixieland-style arrangements by conductor Phil Moore and a small horn-and-rhythm band that knew the music and played it with the right spirit. The instrumental passages were full of the sound of the jazz age, and Short was completely in the spirit of the music as a vocalist, even affecting a croon on "Sweet So and So" and "I'm Bringing a Red, Red Rose" as if he were Rudy Vallée singing through a megaphone in his Ivy League tones, and plaintively handling the recitation in "Laugh, Clown, Laugh" as if he were Ted Lewis smiling through his tears. Such performances bespoke a thorough understanding of the style of '20s pop and jazz music. This was no attempt to update an older style, unlike so much of '50s light pop; Short re-enlivened the '20s by playing its music with the irreverence and verve with which it was played originally. It was hard to imagine what record buyers of 1959 could be expected to make of the album, but on its own terms, it was terrific. ~ William Ruhlmann
$12.99

Crossover - Released April 19, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

After three albums of piano trio music with only the occasional added instrument, Bobby Short was given a somewhat expanded budget for Sing Me a Swing Song by Atlantic Records. The label paid for a six- or seven-piece horn section, along with a four-piece rhythm section, for two-thirds of the tracks. That still wasn't a big band by swing era standards, but it made the album the most musically varied of Short's career so far. Phil Moore's arrangements didn't make extensive use of the extra musicians, restricting them mainly to background color, but the fuller sound allowed Short to step back a bit as a vocalist. On earlier recordings, he often sounded like he was still in a club trying to bellow over noisy diners, but here he often sang more smoothly. The selection of material also added to the set's diversity. There was the usual complement of Cole Porter titles, but also the bluesy Duke Ellington songs "I'm Checking Out, Goombye" and "Rocks in My Bed," and the Marx Brothers novelty "Lydia." As usual, Short sold the lyrics unabashedly, but instead of competing with the horns, he worked with them well, especially on Porter's "For No Reason or Rhyme," which really made use of them for expressive purposes. It was enough to make you wonder what Short might accomplish with strings. ~ William Ruhlmann

Crossover - Released January 1, 1982 | WM Indonesia

Download not available
$11.49

Crossover - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic