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Larry Carr: Sings Verse and Chorus

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Though minor enough a player that he rates nary a footnote in James Gavin’s definitive Intimate Nights: The Golden Age of New York Cabaret, Larry Carr was widely admired by Manhattan’s cognoscenti. In his memoirs, impresario George Wein credits Carr as “a masterful nightclub singer and pianist. He had an exquisite touch and a remarkable ear for harmony.”

Across a four-decade career, Carr only recorded two albums, 32 years apart. The first, 1954’s Sings Verse and Chorus, has now been digitally remastered and reissued. It is a sterling example of sparklingly sophisticated cabaret singing (Carr cedes the piano bench to Dick Hyman), presaging Bobby Short’s arrival on the chic boîte circuit by a couple of years. Indeed, Short’s phrasing and cadence so strongly mirror Carr’s that it seems safe to point to him as a key influence. (And when Carr released his overdue follow-up, Fit as a Fiddle, in 1986, Short is quoted on the album’s back cover, praising him as “a singer-pianist for pianist-singers everywhere.”)

The 13-track playlist is standard cabaret fare-Porter, Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart-with Carr, as the title promises, adding verses and choruses, including several that are rarely sung. A smattering of tracks also feature Bethe Douglas, a solid-voiced stylist of the Jo Stafford school.

Originally Published