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The Carmen McRae & Betty Carter Duets: Live at the Great American Music Hall [Live]

Carmen McRae, Betty CarterAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Price: $39.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 1996 $4.99  
Audio CD, Live, 1996 $39.99  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. What's NewBetty Carter 4:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Stolen MomentsBetty Carter 3:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. But BeautifulBetty Carter 5:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Am I Blue?Betty Carter 6:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Ballad Medley: Glad To Be Unhappy / Where Or WhenBetty Carter 5:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Sometimes I'm HappyBetty Carter 7:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Isn't It Romantic?Betty Carter 2:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Sophisticated LadyBetty Carter 3:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)Betty Carter 6:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. I Hear MusicBetty Carter 2:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Love DanceBetty Carter 8:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. That Old Devil MoonCarmen McRae 3:48$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 30, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Polygram Records
  • ASIN: B00000470Z
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,767 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hellish match made in heaven! April 20, 2004
Format:Audio CD
I love Billie. I love Sarah. I love Ella. I love Dinah. But if I were on a desert island, I would have to have the music of Carmen and Betty! They both had the wonderful combination of heart AND technique. They make you live the story within the song as they demonstrate monster creativity in reconstructing/recreating a song. The only song that seems under par is Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments". The pitch strikes me as flat and i suspect that was mostly Betty's problem because she often intentionally or otherwise seemed to have a ptich problem or a different sense of pitch that was right for her. She could really sound flat to my ears from time to time but...
Both women had an exceptional balance of interpretation of musicianship... awesomely so. Listen to Duke Ellingtons' "Sophisticated Lady". Such humor and joy on this set. Listen to the way Carmen sings: "Diamonds Shining...". It is dark and glistening! Listen to Betty's interprtation of "Where or When". Originally this song was performed in a light operatic style. Betty does a Brilliant reconstruction of an this old she takes it to another place of timelessness. She makes it live again. Almost like you are hearing it for the first time.
This is not a "perfect" album. It is magical! It touches in deep places that make you glad you were a live to witness such beauty.
Early on in the set they joke about how nobody imagined that these two could ever get along long enough to do anything together. Carmen asserts that they did it because they were smart as foxes. And they were for awhile. Within two years of doing this recording they were infact in an ugly fued. None the less they left a legacy of beauty and creativity.
Yeah, get this one!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
This unusual CD features the great Betty Carter performing live with the great Carmen McRae, both having fun as they share the spotlight. Betty's voice is higher and sweeter than Carmen's lower, stronger, and more assertive voice, but together they sound like extensions of each other, almost alteregos, as they interact, engage in delightful patter, and joke and obviously mug with the audience. This is a CD for which one yearns for a video, since these two megastars of jazz are so in sync that it's sometimes difficult to tell which one is singing in these unusually long tracks.

In all tracks it is the singers themselves who are the focus. Accompaniment is kept to a minimum--at most, just the piano, bass, and/or drum--and frequently McRae and Carter sound as if they are singing a capella. "Stolen Moments (You Belong to Her)" features wonderful harmony and impeccable timing, as both singers hit their notes exactly on cue. "But Beautiful," slower and more ballad-like, shows both singers alternating the solo line, ending with surprising high notes and perfect harmony. In one of the longest songs, "Am I Blue?" McRae begins with a solo, then turns the mike to Carter halfway through, before they join and swing together for the remainder of this nearly seven-minute track.

One of the best songs on the CD is "Sometimes I'm Happy," which begins with Carter singing to a bass accompaniment (by Jim Hughart), switching to scat and wild improvisation by McRae, and ending with Carter singing scat. In fact, their ability to sing scat together and alternately is one of the best aspects of this CD. In "Isn't It Romantic?" these two stars obviously enjoy harmonizing, which they continue with "Sophisticated Lady," which alternates solos and then combines.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Divas, Enjoying Each Other's Company June 23, 2008
Format:Audio CD
This a late-career (1987) joinder of Betty Carter and Carmen McRae, recorded live at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. It's a pairing that could have been a major disappointment. One expects it to be great, until one realizes that the two great jazz divas weren't exactly alike. Carmen McRae was one of the greatest lyrical interpreters, who sang "gr's" and "r's" with the greatest of gusto. Betty Carter was one of the greatest musical improvisors, sounding the closest to instrumentalists (along with Mark Murphy and Sheila Jordan) of any jazz singers, singing "ah's" with the greatest of brightness and "oo's" with the greatest of elongation. How would they fit together?

All in all, very well. There are some rough spots when they harmonize or when they sing in unison. Yet, the c.d. works overall because both are in such good spirits. Particularly on "What's New" (where the two acknowledge each other's greatness), "Am I Blue?" (where the two decide, humorously, that they really aren't), "Sophisticated Lady" (Where they realize that dinner with a rich, handsome man isn't the be-all to end-all - only they've known that for a very long time) and "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" (where the "doo-wah's" get ridiculous), the two divas really seem to enjoy each other's company. And, it seems to me that the pairing is especially inspiring to Ms. McRae; she seems to adjust to Ms. Carter even more than vice versa.

It was a wise move to record this album live. Betty Carter always seemed to turn it up a notch with a live audience before her, and this disc is no exception. Ms. McRae's long-time accompanist, Eric Gunnison, and bass, Jim Hughart, and Ms.Carter's long-time drummer, Winard Harper, likewise sound similarly inspired.

My thanks to my friend, Mary Whipple, for bringing my attention to this very noteworthy c.d. RC
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Carmen McRae & Betty Carter- Duets Live...
This album is from 1987 and it's great stuff with Carmen McCrae complementing Betty Carter (live) and answering each other with
scats and "insults" ("we're crazy... Read more
Published 5 months ago by rsteelellinas
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting
To hear these very different singers weave in and out of the melodies is nothing short of amazing. And to hear them live makes it all the more thrilling. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Robert Passantino
5.0 out of 5 stars Showing Off and having fun
They did it. Two Diva's respecting and hanging. It does not get any better than this. It is worth the investment, Enjoy, this is real music.
Published 9 months ago by Sarah Baldwin
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Duet!
Two unforgettable Divas, the real ones! I listen to this CD all the time... from home to car and viceversa. This is Music!
Published 21 months ago by Mercedes de los Rios
4.0 out of 5 stars A welcomed duo
Two of my most favorite jazz-blues artists coming together, and to an appreciative audience. Didn't know this CD existed. Read more
Published on June 24, 2009 by Anon E. Mus
5.0 out of 5 stars Vox humana - the glorious instrument
These two ladies are among the greatest vocal stylists of jazz, quite remarkable when listened separately; together they are AMAZING... Read more
Published on February 25, 2009 by Nikica Gilic
5.0 out of 5 stars Two of the Greats!!
Carmen McRae & Betty Carter deliver a great live set of jazz and fun, both ladies giving each other room to shine and both singing together as a duet should be done! Read more
Published on February 6, 2004 by G. Carter
1.0 out of 5 stars I must be missing something
I picked this up at the local used CD store for $1 figuring I'd found a bargain. After a couple listens, I traded it right back to them. Read more
Published on March 2, 2002 by Yarby
4.0 out of 5 stars They Could Have Done it Better but ... What Matters!
This is a CD re-issue with a repertoire more complete than the first CD edition. Notably, this new CD offers "Love Dance" as composed by Brazilian Ivan Lins and brightly... Read more
Published on July 9, 2000 by Carlos from Rio
5.0 out of 5 stars Two For the Road
This CD is one of the best recordings I have heard thus far! Carmen and Betty truly compliment each other's singing techniques. Read more
Published on February 24, 2000
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