Chip Deffaa, New York Post – “This is a show … hip, knowing and inside … that is as engaging as any seen all year. It’s a cabaret-lover’s dream.” Rex Reed, New York Observer – “This is an unbeatable act of jazz, pop, comedy and conversation that is different from anything else in town. The music and humor is several cuts above the rest”.
— CABARET SCENES MAGAZINE
“Live and in person. As opposed to live but being portrayed by an impersonator? Live but sitting in the other room? Well, that’s just the kind of idiosyncrasy that comes with Jim Caruso. And this knockout live (and in person) recording of his superlative cabaret show of last year displays him at all his wonderfully wacky and marvelously musical best. Anyone who had the great pleasure of seeing Caruso perform this humdinger of a show (and woe to those who had the chance and missed it) will greatly enjoy reliving it once again. Those woeful ones who missed it or never had the opportunity will certainly get a first-rate taste of what the live Live and In Person counterpart was like.
Caruso effortlessly mixes his outrageous comic side (the tale of his early days singing Piaf while dressed in black and his mother accompanying him at Stefano’s Seafood; a musical tribute to his performing friends; his self-effacing take on I’m Hip; the hilarious closer, Tone Deaf) with a strong musical sense and solid delivery. The dynamic pairing of Crazy Rhythm / Fascinating Rhythm; a tenderly introspective If I Only Had a Brain and a southern, bluesy MissYou Mr. Mercer create an hour that’s pure entertainment. Backed by the sometimes jaw-dropping keyboard work from Billy Stritch (who joins Caruso for vocals on several songs, such as the duo’s thunderous When I Get My Name in Lights and their ferocious take on the Kay Thompson arranged How Deep Is the Ocean and during the last third of Caruso’s expansive 10-minute Massive Mercer Medley), Caruso is quite obviously having a ball. So is his audience during what ends up being one of the most successful captures of a live cabaret performance — and performer — in memory, and one that seems equally fresh with each repeated listening. (****)”
— Linda Lavin
“I love this unique and original CD! When Jim regales you with his songs and stories, you feel like you’ve made a new best friend! There’s only one thing better than listening to the CD…and that’s being there in person! Caruso is always the event of the season!”
— G.C.K. www.ShowTunesReview.com
“CARUSO, LIVE AND IN PERSON stars the popular cabaret performer Jim Caruso, recorded during his August 13, 2000 show at Arci’s Place in New York City. There are plenty of humorous stories, jokes and patter on this CD, and they overshadow Caruso’s singing talents. But he turns in several fine performances of tunes such as Crazy Rhythm/Fascinating Rhythm, How Deep Is the Ocean, If I Only Had A Brain and a Massive Mercer Medley of over a dozen of Johnny Mercer’s songs. Caruso’s comedic flair and timing is flawless. He shines with the funny songs I’m Hip, My New Celebrity Is You and Girl From Ipanema re-titled Boy From Fire Island, with special lyrics by Fred Ebb. Accompanying on piano is Caruso’s “?best friend and homey, the endlessly hip Billy Stritch.” Stritch is a talented musician, and his skill is especially evident during the piano solo interlude of If I Only Had A Brain. For those who’ve seen Caruso perform in person, this CD is a great momento. For those who haven’t seen him perform, this release is sure to create new Caruso fans.”
— Bradley Bessey – Entertainment Tonight
“When you come right down to it, who wouldn’t want to take Jim Caruso home? He’s handsome as all get out, charming, witty, talented, and, oh yes, he can really put on a show.
Well, the good news is that he’s also available on a wonderful new CD, that is. Caruso Live and In Person was recorded at Arci’s Place on Park Avenue South and the CD is one of the finds of this holiday season, a delightful cabaret album that stands up to repeated listening and reveals more subtle pleasures on each listening.
The unmistakable energy and good humor of Mr. Caruso’s live shows, with fellow cabaret star Billy Stritch on the piano, has been beautifully captured on this disc. Where other cabaret albums can seem over-produced and excessively veneered, the live format works well for Mr. Caruso, who has an easy rapport with his audience and seems to draw energy from the enthusiastic response to each number.
Caruso Live And In Person” is the next best thing to Jim Caruso, live and in person. Nestled in my CD collection between Kathleen Battle and Cher, the uber-talented yet self-depreciating Caruso makes me laugh. A delightful mix of song stylings and humor, this CD turns my home in LA into a New York cabaret. “If I Only Had A Brain” and the “Massive Mercer Medley” are gorgeous and every time I reach the comic “A Song For My Friends” and “Tone Deaf,” it’s like I’m hearing the jokes for the first time. Also worth mentioning is the value. First Class round-trip to New York from LA: $4,200.00; Jim’s CD: $20.00.”
— Fred Ebb
“How Do I Love Caruso? Let me count the ways”
1. He is funny.
2. He is original.
3. The affection he feels for performing is evident.
4. The affection the audience feels seeing and hearing him perform is also evident.
5. He is better looking than Don Rickles.
6. Also Alfalfa.
7. He brings back fondly remembered days of cabaret.
8. I try hard not to recommend things. It is dangerous. I recommend Jim Caruso.
9. I’ve seen him twice. Also dangerous. Still I was bewitched. What other performer offers “Rhythm in My Nursery Rhyme?” (See #2)
10. I’m tired of counting the ways. Listen to the CD! He’s terrific!”
Jim Caruso was recently seen co-starring with Kathie Lee Gifford on Showtime Television in "Personal Assistant," which was written and directed by Charles Busch. Jim also co-starred on the Nostalgia Network variety sit-com, "Caf' DuArt" for two seasons. As a…