Kai Hoffman Quartet
(The Elgar Room at Royal Albert Hall. 30th May 2013. Review by Glenn MacNamara)
The Elgar Room is a stunning ‘cabaret’ venue, right inside The Royal Albert Hall. The walls are ablaze with portraits of some of the legends that have performed in this amazing building, Frank Sinatra, Pavarotti, Ella Fitzgerald. This is clearly one of ‘The’ venues in London to hear amazing music. The room has such a welcome, cosy feel, with well considered mood lighting and a ‘sit where you like’ policy which makes everyone feel at home.
The Kai Hoffman Quartet are sensational, performing material old and new, beautifully arranged, greatly crafted and performed perfectly by this collection of top musicians. Kai and her band deliver a real understanding and connection with this genre of music, a real togetherness that infects the audience into a frenzy, with everyone on their feet by the time we all have to come back to earth as the room is laid to rest and we all have to go home.
Kai Hoffman has such an infectious, cheeky, charm and has a wicked ‘glint in the eye’ sense of humour when she performs that you can’t help yourself but get swept up in her performance. She makes you feel like she’s performing just to you, with her sexy, sultry ‘blonde bombshell’ looks that give just a nod to the good old days. Her personality endears you to her, her vocals are stunning, sassy and explosive, yet soft and heartfelt.
Joined tonight by Gunther Kurmayr, piano (Ray Gelato Giants), Geoff Gascoyne, bass (Jamie Cullum) and Sebastiaan de Krom, drums (Herbie Hancock, Kurt Elling), made this evening special and we felt like we were experiencing something unique.
They opened with the band on-stage and Kai walking through the audience which helped her make a connection with the audience from the off, by the time she took her position centre stage, she owned the room and had the audience in the palm of her hand. The evening featured a well considered set of songs, mostly from her newly released album Do It While You Can, (available HERE). After the show, Kai graciously spent time with her fans, signing cd’s and taking photos.
My musical highlights were ‘Pure Imagination’, with a beautiful feature from druming sensation Sebastiaan de Krom, ‘Old Cape Cod’, a lovely light swing with an inight to the life of Kai Hoffman as she grew up there, ‘Do It While You Can’ the title song from her new album, a fabulous high energy, hand clapping, foot stomping opener to the second set, and ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’, a haunting melancholy ballad that was almost turned into a torch song.
We were made to feel like we were part of an exclusive club, bearing witness to an explosive art piece in the form of The Kai Hoffman Quartet and the scarlet red grand piano!! It was an amazing night out, a fabulous performance in such historic surroundings made this a very special evening to remember, a privilege.
You can see Kai next with her swing and jive band Kai’s Cats at Ronnie Scott’s Club, Sunday Lunch, June 16th