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Music Review: Jann Klose – Mosaic

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JannKloseMosaicCover-1000-220x2202013 might be one of those years where Jann Klose’s profile edges up another notch or two. For one matter, he’s very involved with Daniel Algrant’s new bio-pic, Greetings from Tim Buckley. For another, he has a new batch of songs being released called Mosaic. So while Klose already has a very deep curriculum vitae indeed, this could be a time for him to widen his current appreciative fan base.

As an artist, Klose is very much a one-man mosaic himself. Born in Germany, and raised in Kenya, Klose came to the States as an exchange student in Cleveland, and thereafter has spread his musical wings into a wide range of styles and genres. He sang in companies performing musicals like Jesus Christ, Superstar and Tommy. He’s shared the stage with the likes of Rosanne Cash, Roger McGuinn, the late Les Paul, and became closely associated with ex-Yardbirds member Jim McCarty and Annie Haslam of Renaissance. His releases to date include the Black Box EP from 2003, Reverie (2007), the Sacrifice EP from 2010, as well as the 2005 Off-Broadway show based around his songs, Moonlight Interior. And that’s just the Cliff’s Notes summation of his accomplishments.

While some critics seem to have trouble defining Klose, I don’t see the problem, at least judging from Mosaic. Chamber pop? Not here. Adult contemporary? Absolutely. The nine original songs and one cover on Mosaic showcase an optimistic songwriter with a gifted voice who likes to arrange his songs in a wide assortment of styles. For example, Mosaic opens with the reggae-driven “Make It Better” and the equally affirmative “Know What’s Right.” The pace slows a bit with the love ballad “On and On” and gets even slower with the gentle reminiscence of love lost in the acoustic folkie “Still.” Klose will remind you, strongly, of Jackson Browne on “Long Goodbye.”

Klose gets a bit rougher, but only a bit, with organ and electric guitar in “Falling Tears,” which is about pain and “blood in the water.” He goes south of the border for “Four Leaf Clover,” gets down-home bluegrass for “Beautiful One” (with supporting vocals by Carrie Newcomer and violin by Leah Potteiger), child-like in the simple “The Kite,” and metaphorical on Klose’s a cappella cover of Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren.”

Klose’s band, The Edukators, consists of Chris Marolf (bass and banjo), drummers Rob Mitzner and Patrick Carmichael, and keyboardist/accordionist Lars Potteiger. Guests include guitarists Florian Opahle (Ian Anderson, Greg Lake) and album co-producer David Bendeth. Woodwinds were provided by flautist Tia Roper and oboist Megan Marolf. Many of these players have worked with Klose before and help his performances maintain a stylistic continuity from album to album.

In the end, Mosaic is a pleasant set of 10 polished jewels that aren’t going to light any fires or likely end up on anyone’s best of list. Still, Mosaic should have a wide appeal for those who like gentle songs delivered by a singer with a tightly-controlled tenor voice. Perhaps 2013 is the year you discover Jann Klose. He’s got a song or two just for you.

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About Wesley Britton