By Gregory J. Chamberlain
Just got back from an incredible Gaby Moreno record release party at Largo at The Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles where a capacity crowd was wowed by Gaby and her full band that included 5 violins, a cello, a string bass, electric bass with longtime bandmate Leslie Lowe, a trombonist woman who gave the music loads of character, a tenor sax man, two different pianists that included the fantastic Van Dyke Parks, a mandolin player at times, a backing/lead guitarist who shaped so much of the sound on many of the nights performances, a drummer (a very tasty one who happens to be Gaby's significant other, Sebastian Aymanns, a session/touring player also doing Europe with Lisa Marie Presley promoting her most recent record), and two perfect backing vocalists. Tasty is the word that best describes the musicianship and meticulous arrangements throughout the night. There was not one note or nuance that was out of place the entire evening. Even the buzz from the guitar cord and amplifier seemed to have it's own place like pops from a great vinyl record.
Van Dyke Parks, the truly amazing composer, arranger, musician, author and actor, well known for his collaborations and lyrical contributions to the Beach Boys album Smile, but who is so much deeper than even that, gushed over Gaby on several occasions and talked candidly about his desire to work with Gaby for several years. His performance with Gaby was beautiful and inspiring.
The wonderfully organic songs from her most recent all Spanish language album titled POSTALES were all mesmerizing. Gaby shared the stories behind each song as she went, practically bringing me to tears on more than one occasion through the night, such as the story behind a poem from that Gaby's grandfather wrote to her grandmother which was turned into a song by Gaby. Gaby told a story of how her grandfather was 58 and her grandmother was 18 when they married. A 40 year difference! Gaby also performed many of her past songs in both English and Spanish, as well as several standards and classics.
Gaby signed autographs for a very long line of fans for close to two full hours. Perhaps not anticipating the strong demand, all of the boxes of her CD's and posters that were brought to the show sold out early. Whoever said CD's are dead never went to a Gaby Moreno show. Several in the crowd were a bit disappointed when they were unable to buy a CD to have it personally signed. But Gaby took the time to hug each and every fan and took what seemed like a few thousand photos. This girl knows what it means to be a true star, which she most certainly is.
Gaby Moreno - Ave que Emigra (from album titled Postales)
While I loved every single song Gaby performed, the one that was the most poignant or important in my mind was The Immigrant, a cover by Calypso artist David Rudder. Especially during this political season, where the political candidates would surely pander to artists like Gaby to use her recording of Rudders song in their campaigns to prove they are immigrant friendly. Gaby knows and exuded the actual meaning of the song and it's importance and place in the American fabric. I'd hope Gaby would flip politicians the bird if they tried to attach their political campaigns to it, but she's far too gracious for that, even if she knew they were pandering. It just so happens that Barack Obama personally follows Gaby Moreno on Twitter. But Gaby's music is embraced by people across every spectrum, political and otherwise. The passion Gaby emitted when she laid The Immigrant down with her full band was inspiring and heartfelt. Bravissimo to Gaby for delivering this song the way she did. She is a great story teller and has proved she can deliver social commentary in a deeply meaningful way.
Gaby Moreno - The Immigrant (Unplugged recording from a performance on Treble Clef Live)
Gaby also performed one of her songs, Sing Me Life, a passionate anthem that could mean something different to everyone. Makes me think of not backing down from people and the cheap patriotism and jingoism that perpetuates war and government misdeeds. Long ago, when this song was released, it made me sit back, think and stay focused without being influenced by the status quo. This song can be a personal anthem for those seeking reinforcement in staying true and original.
Sing Me Life from Gaby's album titled Illustrated Songs album.
There is one more thing to mention. After one hears this next song, which Gaby performed all by her lonesome which drove into the encore, one may be whistling it in the mind over and over. It was one of the most delightful moments of the evening that always takes me to a place that feels like a scene out of Woody Allen's film Midnight in Paris. The film which came out in 2011 had me thinking of Gaby almost the entire time I watched it debut. Too bad Woody Allen didn't know of Gaby yet, for he most certainly would have put her in the cast.
Daydream by Design - From Gaby Moreno's Illustrated Songs album.
Connect direct with Gaby Moreno at Gaby-Moreno.Com