One of the year’s very best albums has arrived in a comparatively low-key, unheralded manner—as often happens—and this is something you really shouldn’t miss.
The Ambassador, the latest work by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Kahane, aims to tell the story of Los Angeles. With a diverse array of songs bearing addresses in their titles, such as “Musso and Frank (6667 Hollywood Blvd),” and “Union Station (800 N. Alameda St.)," Kahane’s impressive work focuses on buildings, architectural styles, characters both real and fictional, and an unexpectedly sophisticated, artful perspective. It is not your usual lowest-common denominator play, as its appearance on Sony Music’s Masterworks label might indeed imply.
Born in California but currently a New York City resident, Gabriel Kahane is aggressively creative, the perhaps natural by-product of a pair of parents with backgrounds in music and psychology respectively, and artistically, well, delightfully all over the place. He’s got a background in classical music, writing musical theatre, and pop—you can read all about him here– but listing credits like that read like a resume detracts from the simple and delightful fact that The Ambassador is a surprisingly sharp, appealing piece of music likely to enthrall all who hear it.
Yahoo Music was pleased to spend a little Los Angeles time with Gabriel ourselves recently—in, of all places, Griffith Park, subject of The Ambassador’s “Griffith Park (2800 E. Observatory Ave.)” and precisely the location depicted on its cover. Kahane shared two songs with us, talked a bit about what drove him to create the new album, and inspired most of us with his very evident creative spirit.
If you’d like to find out more about Kahane and his new album, check out The Ambassador Atlas--a very rich site put together detailing both the locations profiled in the album’s songs and related info--and download a free track while you’re over there.
Meanwhile, while you're here, watch Gabriel Kahane perform two tracks from The Ambassador, listen to the man’s smart and very upbeat interview, and watch one of the year’s better music events start to unfold.