I heard Gabriel Kahane at Joe’s Pub Wednesday night. If Billy Joel and Paul McCartney can write “classical music”, why can’t composers write “pop music”?
1. Gabe Kahane is a good singer, great pianist and out of this world showman. His wry and wonderful wit comes through his music and lyrics. Wednesday night Kahane shared his sounds with humor, humility and always in an entertaining way.
2. Ensemble with the four man band, including: piano, banjo, violin, clarinet, bass clarinet, drums, guitar, electric bass, toy piano and a melodic, was generally tight and toe tapping. Less stellar was the drummer playing banjo – it just didn’t click and wasn't heard very well – perhaps it was his trip from Seattle. Later when Kahane picked up the banjo, it was heard fine and in time!
3. Rob Moose played excellent lines whether it was on violin, guitar or bass. Also Sam Sadigursky shone in his bass clarinet lines, and as a toy pianist, rocked the joint.
4. New songs including Keen were charming, including a Pan-Am bag on the subway inspired song written that day – although the riffs were cool, the selections weren’t always memorable.
5. The highlight of the evening was Kahane’s Craiglistlieder, a 21st Century masterpiece, both a virtuoso vehicle for Gabe singing and playing, and a biting commentary. Operatic riffs including pseudo recitative and rhythmic variety made this in a word, perfect.
The show was short but sweet – keep an eye out for the new album in August and go to http://www.gabrielkahane.com/to experience the Craiglistlieder for yourself, you’ll be glad you did!