We’ve all been to open-mic nights because a friend was performing or we felt some other reason to be there. But there’s one open-mic night that I have been to that I can recommend.

Jim Caruso’s Cast Party is a regular part of the schedule at Birdland in New York City. But occasionally he takes the party on the road. This time he’s throwing the party at Feinstein’s at Hotel Nikko in San Francisco on Friday and Saturday of this week. Joining him will be Joe Wicht on the piano.

Caruso is wildly energetic, very passionate with an healthy dash of humor built in for good measure. He keeps the evening moving quickly. Like any other open-mic, you never know who will show up. At the shows I’ve attended in both NY and Los Angeles the talent ranged from the wildly unknown to the very famous. And the singing was all top-notch.

I’m not familiar with Wicht. However, I know he’ll have to be on his toes as accompanist to the wide array of singing styles, songs, levels of talent that he’ll find. But that’s part of the joy. Hearing how two people can forge a successful collaboration within minutes for a paying audience.  Maybe it will be a show tune, perhaps a rock classic or standard. It’s refreshing to watch a show and not have any idea what you are going to see. It is precisely that unpredictability that makes these nights so much fun. Consider it culture roulette.







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