Recent News
Keith Lockhart
Vienna Boys Choir
Classical Album of the Week: Vienna Boys Choir Sings Strauss
JoAnn Falletta, Mariss Jansons, David Alan Miller, Peter Oundjian, Patrick Summers, Alexandre Tharaud, Magos Herrera & Brooklyn Rider , Mason Bates, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Munich , Academy of St Martin in the Fields , Les Violons du Roy , Anthony Roth Costanzo, Nathan Gunn
2019 Grammy Nominees
Grammy Awards
New York Philharmonic String Quartet , Yefim Bronfman
Bronfman, NY Philharmonic Quartet impress at Linton Series
Cincinnati Business Courier
Julian Wachner
This Is the Best ‘Messiah’ in New York
The New York Times
Sir Andrew Davis
ELGAR The Music Makers. The Spirit of England (Davis)
Chanticleer Christmas concert, 11/30/18
Ward Stare
Twin pianists deliver impeccable style in ‘Perfect Pairs’ concert
Sarasota Herald Tribune
Richard Kaufman
Broadway World
Twyla Tharp Dance
Dreaming of Dancing With Twyla Tharp
Next Avenue

News archive »

Kirill Gerstein and Storm Large team up on 'classy, sassy' lounge act for the Gilmore (review)

Storm Large
The Kalamazoo Gazette

By Mark Wedel

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Storm Large and Kirill Gerstein delivered love songs classy, sassy, psycho and naughty for the last Gilmore Jazz Club Thursday night.

WMU's Williams Theatre was the setting for their lounge act. Large is a chanteuse of Portland, Ore., where she's had a popular cabaret act. She also has sung with Pink Martini, who played the 2012 Gilmore.

Gerstein is an internationally-known, award-winning (including the 2010 Gilmore Artist Award) classical pianist. He's pretty good with the jazz, too.

Large met Gerstein at 2012 Gilmore, when he made a surprise cameo with Pink Martini. She then did the same when he played in her hometown.

Thursday at the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival was their first full set together. They opened with standards "Funny Valentine" and "Summertime." Lugubrious, lingering on every syllable, Large's voice was velvet. Gerstein was the good accompanist, not drawing attention from the singer, showing flashes of his talent in a few solo improvs, but not too flashy.

The world-class pianist may have helped sell many of the tickets for the sold-out-long-ago concert, but this was Large's show. She has a big personality, and is a master of the patter. "I have a serious kink for love songs," she said, and got down into lyrical examples of obsessive, unhealthy love.

They're beautiful expressions of emotion, as she said, but something like "Don't Explain," made famous by Billie Holiday, is not the result of a good situation. "I know you cheat ... Right or wrong, don't matter ... you're my joy and my pain," she sang, with voice leaning towards pain.

"Girl, get some self-esteem," she said.

She did a slow lounge version of Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me," a bit of classic rock male obsession. For the girl's point of view, she transformed Olivia Newton John's sappy hit from "Grease," "Hopelessly Devoted to You," into the soundtrack for an imaginary S&M dungeon, inspired by its "psycho" lyrics.

You know it's not the usual lounge act when the singer sets the scene for a song with, "Danny is naked and duct-taped to a toilet ..." Large sang with pure crazy love, putting her foot down on an imaginary John Travolta-in-bondage. Large's cabaret act is about variety -- perfect, usually slow and luxurious, renditions of songs, mixed with edgy humor and creative twisting of tunes.

She probably wouldn't be considered too edgy in many venues. But this is the Gilmore. An enthusiastic standing ovation brought back Gerstein and Large. They left the audience with Large's song "8 Miles Wide," from her one-woman show "Crazy Enough."

As some were surprised by a song Ben Folds sang for his Gilmore concert April 26, others may have not expected this. In the song, she sings with vast, empowering female pride about a part of her anatomy. Large got the audience to sing along, even the men. As the audience was leaving, some were still singing about female parts, while at least one older gentleman could be heard grumbling, "I guess she's too 'sophisticated' for me."