I’ve been hearing for quite a while Jim Caruso’s Cast Party is by far the most amazing open mic night in Manhattan. I was so glad to finally stop by and check it out for myself last Monday, October 7th, and to bring a friend who knows a thing a two about microphones (open or otherwise), 10-time Grammy winner Natalie Cole. (Speaking of Grammys, I just heard that Natalie is nominated for three Latin Grammy’s for her first Spanish language album En Espanol, including Album of the Year). I thought that rather than catching up in a hotel room or restaurant, it would be a fun change of pace to drop by Birdland, listen to some live music and kick it old school.
There was a method to my madness. Growing up in Hollywood, when Natalie’s father Nat “King” Cole was home, her living room was essentially an open mic featuring family friends like Sammy Davis, Jr., Carmen McCrae, Peggy Lee, and Pearl Bailey, to name just a few, so this was a familiar setting. I also knew that Natalie would be coming from a Tony Bennett event down at Cipriani and her gifted pianist Josh Nelson would be with her. Let’s just say that I knew the circumstances would be, all in all, quite conducive to Natalie’s participation on some level.
Unfortunately Jim Caruso was at Chita Rivera’s event but another Natalie, Natalie Douglas, really did a wonderful job hosting the night. My Natalie did in fact get up and sing Fever and was really quite electrifying and the best part was that Caruso got there in time to say “hello.” Mission accomplished.
Oh…and here’s the very best part: I recorded it for you.
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