Tuneage Tutelage - Kevin Koelbl "This Is Christmas Time"

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Thursday, November 19, 2009

I told you there were two CDs waiting for review. This is a total 180 degrees from our last artist.

Our guest's name is Kevin Koelbl (pronounced cable), and after receiving his degree in Vocal Performance, he began appearing in regional theater productions of Carnival, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Fantasticks, A Little Night Music, Beauty and the Beast, Oklahoma, Anything Goes and ShowBoat.

A love of musical theater and its songbook has led to is worldwide touring and performing in places as diverse as Tokyo Disneyland, both the Royal Viking and Princess Cruise Lines, the Rose Tattoo, the Gardenia Room, Debbie Reynold‘s Hotel & Casino, the famed Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Cinegrill, and long-term engagements in Switzerland and Japan.

When Michael Crawford left his headlining role in EFX at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand, Kevin stepped into Mr. Crawford’s role and received critical acclaim. Showbiz Magazine said: “Koelbl’s deep voice and dark features add a haunting quality to the show.”

In 2001, Mr. Koelbl released his debut CD, Somewhere In Time which was pre-nominated for a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal for the 44th Annual Awards.

Now, Mr. Koelbl is releasing his next endeavor, a CD entitled This Is Christmas Time, a collection of holiday standards, done with a fresh take.

On this CD he duets with Heidi Godt (direct from the Broadway cast of Mama Mia) and Tami Tappan Damiano (star of Miss Saigon).

A true Holiday CD from Broadway. On the CD he covers the Irving Berlin songs "Count Your Blessings" and "Snow", as well as "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", "Sleigh Ride" and the title track, an original written by Steven Santoro, as well as 9 other standards.

It is evident from the opening notes, Mr. Koelbl is one heck of a singer. A deep robust voice with a silky quality to it he attacks (can you attack a Christmas song?) these standards with vigor.

There are a few kinks along the way...not in Mr. Koelbl's vocals but in the arrangements selected. I was not real impressed with "O Holy Night", nor did his version of "Silent Night" move me at all. It staggers along and then becomes something that it was never intended to be...a jarring swirling uncomfortable rendition and is probably the one cut I disliked the most.

But when he and the band rip into the above mentioned, "Sleigh Ride", well you can feel the wind on your cheeks and the snow in your hair.

"Little Drummer Boy" transports you to another space - the drums and bass lay out almost a reggae feel for this timeless classic.

There are so many great Christmas songs out there...this is probably one of the most difficult albums of music for any artist to succeed with, as they will always be compared to the standards we grew up with as children.

But I think Mr. Koelbl does himself proud with this release.

I will send it along to one person, based upon your comments.

This is "Snowfall/White Christmas"...enjoy

There are three dates on Mr. Koelbl's schedule...
Friday, November 20, 2009
Doors at 6:30pm, Show at 8:00pm
Kevin Koelbl with Matt Harris on piano, Trey Henry on bass, Ray Brinker on drums
M Bar & Restaurant 1253 N. Vine Street, Los Angeles, CA 90038
To Reserve a Table Call (323) 856-0036

Sunday, December 6, 2009
Show at 2:00pm
Performing Arts Society of Nevada Christmas Benefit Concert
Kevin Koelbl with Greg Bosler on piano
Clark County Library 1401 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89119

Saturday, December 19, 2009
Show at 2:00pm
This Is Christmas Time CD Release Concert
Kevin Koelbl with Tom Ditzler on piano, Kurt Stein on bass, Mike Underwood on drums
Proceeds to benefit the Judy Kuble Music Scholarship Fund
Lourdes High School Bill Behring's Commons, 110 N Sawyer St, Oshkosh, WI 54902

16 Of Your Sparks

  1. Lu' Says:
  2. Well I thought you wrote a very nice review. I thought I detected a slight lisp. I think he has nice tone but worbbles too much. Lawrence Welk show comes to mind. I enjoyed the instrumental parts very much. Whoo hoo Good morning Bond :)

  3. DrillerAA09 Says:
  4. If you want to hear an arrangement of O Holy Night that will send chills up your spine, get a copy of David Phelps "One Wintry Night" CD. It contains the single most incredible arrangement of the song that I have EVER heard...EVER!!!

  5. Anndi Says:
  6. I can't believe it, but I just heard Simon Cowell say "so cabaret" in my head (and I love Broadway).

    Maybe it would have been better if you'd posted the wind in your hair song *shrug* or if I wasn't listening to it in the morning.

  7. Dianne Says:
  8. Little Drummer Boy is one of my favorites
    I'm trying to imagine a bit of a reggae feel and in my head it sounds good

  9. LAC Says:
  10. I love me some holiday music, but this was a bit to... how should I say it.. mellow? Soft? SLOOOOWW! I guess I will stick with my favorites, Alabama, Kenny Rogers and Trans Siberian Orchestra!!!

  11. Mimi Lenox Says:
  12. Coming back to listen a little later. The Christmas tunes are upon us.....Have a great day!

  13. Mimi Lenox Says:
  14. Thanks for the tip, Driller.

  15. ...I gotta say: it's the Sinatra Family Christmas Album for me...all else pales in comparison...

  16. Jay Says:
  17. Christmas music??

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooo! ;-)

  18. LU' : Another tune tomorrow...

    DRILLERAA: I will have to find it Sir

    ANNDI: I did not get that off of him..maybe another tune tomorrow..

    DIANNE: Ask and ye shall receive...tomorrow

    SHUTTERBUG: Thanks for commenting...

    MIMI: See you later

    PHFRANKIE: I think I knew that!

  19. Can't hear it at work mores the pity. Will try to listen tonight before heading off to camp in line for New Moon at Midnight :P

    I have to say though that it will be hard as hell to top Bing and Bowie on Little Drummer Boy. Or Bing on pretty much any holiday standard. Have I mentioned my deep and abiding love for Bing? Second only to Frank =)

  20. Patti Says:
  21. I love Christmas music. I couldn't hear this, though. (Insert sad face) I'll try again later. Our Internet connection has been acting up for two weeks. So annoying.

    I also love all of the musicals you mentioned. Never saw "Carnival," so I don't know the music.

    So, you are taking requests?

  22. Somehow I can't let go of Johnny Mathis's Christmas music, Vin! :)

  23. Fred Says:
  24. XM Radio had two holiday channels now, one of which plays the classics from the 50s and 60s. They are absolutely terrific.

  25. Jeff B Says:
  26. I'm one of those "No Christmas music until after Thanksgiving" types.

  27. Well, this certainly is quite a change from Slayer. I like holiday music, but this didn't really jump out and grab me.


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