Carole J. Bufford: Bad Moon Rising

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Carole J. Bufford

Bad Moon Rising

Birdland, NYC, October 31, 2022

Reviewed by Ron Forman

Carole J. Bufford
Photo: Kevin Alvey

Halloween is the night to misbehave. At Birdland, and dressed as a 1920’s flapper, the dynamic Carole J. Bufford, was the perfect vocalist to sing about misbehaving. Her eclectic mix of songs covered the years from 1926 to 2014. Bufford is a vocalist who must be seen to be fully appreciated. She looked great and was in constant motion, and in every song she performed, her arm and hand movements were an important part of telling the story.
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She was backed by an excellent trio of musicians—Ian Herman (music director, piano), Tom Hubbard (bass), and Howie Gordon (drums)—who provided just the right, often eerie, musical accompaniment for this show.

Bufford had the perfect opening number for this Halloween show: “I Wanna Be Evil,” followed by “Cruella De Vil,” a song from her favorite animated film, One Hundred and One Dalmatians.She told a moving story about Bessie Smith and then performed a powerful “Send Me to the ’Lectric Chair,” a song Smith covered. She started Cole Porter’s 1927 song “Let’s Misbehave” slowly and then sped it up. The number included a piano solo by Herman. Bufford showed her ability to do a country song with “Girl Crush.” She performed a very lively “Fire Down Below” and got lots of laughs with the black humor of “Say We’re Sweethearts Again.” The highlight of the evening was her excellent performance of “Every Breath You Take,” which she said was the most played song ever. She closed the show with its song “Bad Moon Rising.” The encore was the funeral dirge “St. James Infirmary,” which included an applause-producing solo by Herman.
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Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.