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Eartha Kitt: Live from the Cafe Carlyle

Monroe James Lawrence Yohey By

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Eartha Kitt
Live from the Cafe Carlyle
DRG Records
2006



Everything about the Café Carlyle speaks class and sophistication. The Café Carlyle opened in 1955, and has featured legends such as cabaret entertainer, Bobby Short. The venue has an intimate and romantic quality that can easily overflow into sensual and sizzle that make this location the ideal place for a live performance recording by the ever vigorous and forever young Eartha Kitt.



Once, Orson Welles referred to Kitt as "the most exciting woman in the world." Kitt (age 79 on performance date) meows, purrs, and growls her way through a multilingual, accented, and anecdotal performance that includes classic songs such as "C'est si bon" ("It's So Good"). As the aforementioned song states, this seventeen-song recording is so good from the first until the last track. This seductive recording was recorded live on June 30th, 2005, and was the first new release of material for Miss Kitt since Back in Business (DRG, 1994). The performance is full of sexual-innuendos that will remind jazz fans of similar banter and play by the vaunted jazz great Alberta Hunter during her performances at The Cookery in the early 1980s. Passion has obviously kept these performers young and their vocals powerful and clean throughout their storied careers.

Kitt performs in front of a quintet, led by pianist/musical director Daryl Waters, that sets many different moods, beats, and tempos, arcing this recording from the raucous, upbeat, and out-in-front fun numbers like "Sell Me" to the cool, laid-back and sensual bliss of "How Insensitive." Resident New Yorkers will have a special pathos to Kitts' rendition of "Hate/Love New York" in their duality of ecstasy and torture of living in the city. Tears may well during "September Song," and will be quickly refreshed with a surprisingly upbeat version of "It Was a Very Good Year." The entire effect of the recording is one of pure—and somewhat hedonistic—pleasure that draws the listener back again and again for more Eartha.

The Nightlife Sommelier's Drink & Recording Pairing:

Recipe: Eartha Kitt's Black Magic & Limoncello Pousse Café

Listed by specific gravity

1/2 oz Grenadine 1.18

1/2 oz Créme de cassis 1.18

1/2 oz White créme de menthe 1.12

1/2 oz Limoncello or Creamy Limoncello various specific gravity

1/2 oz Tia Maria Coffee Liqueur 1.09

1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse 1.06

1/2 oz Brandy 1.04

1/2 oz Green Chartreuse 1.01

1/2 Dark Rum 0.95

1/2 oz Vodka 0.95

Serving instructions. I figured out most of the specific gravities, however the Limoncello may have a different specific gravity depending on specific product you use. The specific gravity will be relatively high, if you don't know the specific gravity you can pour them first and let the ingredients settle into place with time. Pour the ingredients according to specific gravity heaviest to lightest over the back of a teaspoon into a Pousse Café glass. Serve in 5oz Pousse Café glass (feel free to exchange ingredient for others—just look up specific gravity first). Garnish with a lemon twist. Enjoy!!!


Tracks and Personnel

Tracks: Sell Me; An Englishman Needs Time; Come-On-A My House; Hate/Love New York; Ain't Misbehavin'; Uska Dara; Waray Waray; La Vie ne Rose; Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup; What Is This Thing Called Love?; How Insensitive; All My Life; I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm; C'Est Si Bon; September Song; It Was a Very Good Year; Here's to Life.

Personnel: Eartha Kitt: vocals; Daryl Waters: piano, musical director; Joe Friedman: guitar; Calvin "Fuzz" Jones: bass; Brian Grice: drums; Tony Cintron: percussion.


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