LondonJazz News: Kai, tell us about your New York gig.
Kai Hoffman: I’m very excited to be performing my first ever New York show at the internationally-acclaimed jazz cabaret venue The Metropolitan Room. (DETAILS BELOW). The show will be based on my latest album ‘Do It While You Can,’ along with vintage jazz, original numbers and cabaret. There’ll be some pretty good stories too…
LJN: When was the last time you sang in NY?
KH: This is my very first show as a singer in New York… first show in the USA since 1997, I’m a complete ex-pat! Having said that, I made a preliminary trip to New York this September and was very kindly invited to sing with the Grammy-winning Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, with David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity band at Birdland, and at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party, also at Birdland, so technically the last time I sang in New York was September… it was quite a visit!
Although I am originally from Boston, MA., I have lived abroad since 1997 and this is my first time back in ‘the mother country’!
LJN: Have you ever lived there?
KH: Yes. I studied at Manhattan School of Music from 1994-1997 as a French horn player.. so my last show in New York was as a horn player many years ago! I lived in Harlem in the early ’90s when it wasn’t exactly a safe neighbourhood.. it’s really trendy now! I sang in an amateur jazz choir back then but only did one show with them in a church hall so it doesn’t really count.. and then I moved to Germany in 1997. I didn’t start singing as a soloist until I joined NYJO in London back in 2000.
LJN: What’s your best New York story?
KH: I remember some pretty wild and random things going on when I was there as a student – everything from being held up by a homeless woman on the subway with a banana (yes, this happened!) to trying to jam (badly) on French horn with some friends in the 24-hour practice rooms at our student digs at 3am.. going to class in my pyjamas.. Seeing Betty Carter at Birdland and being completely enthralled. Watching the entire season worth of shows for nearly three years running at the Metropolitan Opera House – I used to study with the principal horn player Howard T. Howard. Always loved singing jazz but was too afraid to try it! Of course that was a while ago, and things have changed…
LJN: What’s the progamme?
KH: Based on songs from my album ‘Do It While You Can’, I have created a show with background stories and tidbits, songs about lovers, litigation, and loss – whilst proving that laughter really is the best medicine. I’m including my favourite tracks from ‘Do It While You Can,’ including the title track (I wrote it.. and I still like it, so it’s in!) , the wonderful ‘Some Boys’ by Beat-poet extraordinaire Fran Landesman & Simon Wallace, ‘Pure Imagination’ from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the fabulously swingin’ Blossom Dearie number ‘Long Daddy Green’ and more. There will be some finger-snapping… and definitely some fun. Can’t help it…
LJN: Who are the other musicians?
KH: I am working with the fantastic rhythm section of Tedd Firth, piano (Michael Feinstein, Marilyn Maye), Tom Hubbard, double bass, (Liza Minnelli, Sheila Jordan), and Daniel Glass, drums (Brian Setzer, Bette Midler). It’s going to be SWINGIN’! Can’t wait.
LJN: What New York food are you going to find hard to – or fail to – resist?
KH: A pastrami sandwich from Katz’s Deli and a slice of cheesecake from Carnegie Deli in midtown… The rest of the time, CAKE! Ha…
DETAILS: Sunday, November 23rd at 4pm at the THE METROPOLITAN ROOM, 34 WEST 22ND ST., NEW YORK, NY, 10010 (betw.5th&6th Ave.)
Subway: 23rd St – TEL. 212-206-0440. – TICKETS