Monday, May 2, 2011

Forever Moore - Melba Moore at Café Carlyle

By Byrne Harrison

It's always a pleasant surprise when a performer is even better live than you expect. Melba Moore is an amazing singer, as anyone who is familiar with her Broadway performances or her '70s hits will attest to. But will that talent translate into a good cabaret performance?

The answer is a resounding yes.

Ms. Moore has created a terrific program with a nice balance of standards and modern songs, just the perfect mix of performance and storytelling, and an exceptionally talented group of musicians (Levi Barcourt, music director, Rodney Harrison, drums, David Brown, guitar, Leon Dorsey, bass).

She begins the show with a tribute to her mother, the talented Bonnie Davis, featuring such standards as "Blue Skies," "Stormy Weather," and a spirited and swinging rendition of "It Don't Mean a Thing."

Naturally, she performs songs from Hair and Purlie, for which she won her Tony Award in 1970. While the Hair medley that she performs is terrific, Purlie provides a more moving experience.  Both her Hair medley and a Motown mix provide some opportunities for audience participation (which the crowd completely ate up).

Her finale features a powerful rendition of her hit, "Lean on Me," and was absolutely transporting.  A perfect ending for a great show.

Forever Moore runs through May 7th at Café Carlyle ( 35 E. 76th Street) Tuesday through Friday at 8:45PM, Saturday at 8:45PM and 10:45PM.

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