Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gabriel Kahane issues song set "The Ambassador" on CD

For me, there is nothing better in life (really?) than the view from the “top of the world” restaurant in the Angeleno Hotel on the I-405, where I settled for dinner after a very long day flying to LA (gaining three hours) in May 2012.  The splendor, not too obscured by smog, of the city in the evening lay before me. 
Vocalist Gabriel Kahane (b. 1981, now working in Brooklyn, NY) lays all this out in a ten-piece set called “The Ambassador” (named after the famous hotel in LA, where RFK was shot in 1968), on a 2014 Sony CD, available on Amazon.   Cahane sings with a chamber ensemble comprising two violins, a viola, cello, trumpets, French horn, tuba, trombone, and saxophones.  Each piece is based on a different location, with street address given, in “centerless” Los Angeles.
The songs are recorded in various studios and homes in New York, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The program notes, by Christopher Hawthorne, note that the centerpiece song may be “Empire Liquor Mart”, about the shooting of a teenager by an Asian shop owner about the time of the Rodney King incident in 1991.   
The artists view Los Angeles as a bit like the entire universe.  Wherever you are, you are at the center of your own world.  I like West Hollywood the best. 
Kahane also often sings while playing piano, as he did in a concert with Timo Andres at the Library of Congress on April 5, 2013 (review here).    

Update: June 18

Rolling Stone has a review by Dave DiMartino that has a lot of becoming photos, link here

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