Carmen McRae & Betty Carter – Live at the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco {Verve}

Review by Scott Yanow (

This project is an unusual matchup between two very individual vocalists that generally works. Both Carmen McRae and Betty Carter show a lot of good humor during their duets, cracking occasional jokes and often jamming quite spontaneously. With suitable support from pianist Eric Gunnison, bassist Jim Hughart and drummer Winard Harper along with a very enthusiastic audience at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall, Carter usually takes vocal honors while McRae comes up with the most humorous lines. Some of the ensembles are ragged but this encounter is overall quite successful. The CD reissue adds three previously unreleased selections that feature McRae without Carter. Now if only someone had teamed together Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan for a full album.

01 – What’s New?
02 – Stolen Moments (aka “You Belong to Her”)
03 – But Beautiful
04 – Am I Blue?
05 – Glad to Be Unhappy; Where or When
06 – Sometimes I’m Happy
07 – Isn’t it Romantic?
08 – Sophisticated Lady
09 – It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got that Swing)
10 – I Hear Music
11 – Love Dance
12 – That Old Devil Moon

Betty Carter, Carmen McRae – vocals
Eric Gunnison – piano, electric piano (on #11)
Jim Hughart – bass
Winard Harper – drums

Recorded January, 30-31 & February, 1 – 1987
at the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork