Germany’s Max Raabe and his Palast Orchester (Apr 9) step out of their chic time machine and onto the Chan Centre stage with an evening of Weimar-era music and much more. Here are five reasons we think you should go:
1The top hat and coattails
Raabe is a charismatic crooner with a silky smooth baritone voice and an equally interesting background. Born into a modest, rural family, Raabe’s early musical tastes were formed by his discovery of 1920s music on German radio, his parents’ collection of comedy and big band records, as well as old Hollywood musicals. In his teens, the vocalist broke away from the crowd at the height of the disco-era, dressing up in his father’s top hat and coattails to sing old-fashioned favourites at parties.
Raabe is not only a unique talent, but a very funny man. He has even traded quips with Ernie and Bert on Sesame Street (or Sesame Strasse, as it is known in Germany). He credits his sense of humour to his father: “His sense of humor was so dry that sometimes it was only the next day that I realized he had made a joke.”
The orchestra lovingly covers jazz classics, often sticking to the original arrangements. Irving Berlin and Cole Porter masterpieces are always on the ticket, as well as German standards from Kurt Weil, and other composers of the Weimar Republic.
4The modern hits
The group is known for performing familiar jazz standards, but they also love to add exquisite renditions of modern hits by the likes of Britney Spears, Salt-N-Pepa and Tom Jones into the mix.
All members of the orchestra are established musicians in their own right, and treat the music with the utmost reverence. Max Raabe himself has said, “The stage is the altar, and I am the priest. Every note and every phrase is polished like a diamond.”