Stories » Max Raabe, Palast Orchester - DER PERFEKTE MOMENT is full of wit, groove and charm / Stage and Cinema

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Max Raabe, Palast Orchester - DER PERFEKTE MOMENT is full of wit, groove and charm / Stage and Cinema

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I have seen the charismatic German baritone Max Raabe and his 12-member Palast Orchester live three times; each time, the world-famous group - around since the mid-80s - embodies the high style and musical glory of the ‘20s and ‘30s as they perform songs from, and in the style of, that remarkable time. Always elegant and smart in appearance, Raabe - now 55 - has proved himself a singer of incredible range, with the ability to capture the cunning rasp of the cabaret singer, the confidence of the bel canto hero, the oily melodiousness of the revue beau, the carefree timbre of early jazz, and the falsetto of ragtime.

Now Raabe, remaining ever the German Gentleman, returns with a new album of pop chansons penned by himself along with Humpe and Cristoph Israel on three tracks, Achim Hagemann on four, and Daniel Faust, Ulf Leo Sommer, and Peter Plate (of the German pop duo, Rosenstolz) on five. With that many composers, you would think the songs would be all over the map, but the cohesive result is a celebration of delicious relaxed idleness - a celebration of the simplicities of life, and a reminder to enjoy them before the realities of life befall you. Titled Der Perfekte Moment…Wird Heut Verpennt (The Perfect Moment…Will Be Lost Today), this delightful amble can be considered a solo effort, but members of Palast Orchester - utilizing ukulele, steel drum, light 70s sounding brass, etc. - play along in smaller combos at first until the album ends with an orchestra of over forty players.

A recording full of wit, groove and charm - and some catchy tunes - has emerged, perfect for a summery Saturday afternoon - or better yet, to recreate one on a winter's day. The title song of the album is an ode to chilling out: "I do not do anything at all, do not bend a finger, I stay at home and just lie around here." Who doesn't dream of such a day when there are no phone calls, and the most active thing is the fridge going on and off?