Monday, November 1, 2010

CABARET review - Jake Broder's Lord Buckley @ Inner Circle of the Magic Castle

Richard Myrle Buckley, aka Lord Buckley, was an American lounge comic (1906-1960), who had a cult following in the 50s; he went in for hip semantic and scat, associated with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Pearl Bailey and Ella Fitzgerald. His word play was delivered with a cool one-of-a-kind lightening-like speed, making him a forerunner of the Beat Generation. He influenced such comics as Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor and Robin Williams. Bringing him to life requires formidable skill: bold, fearless and hypnotic, all rolled into one. Jake Broder, who essayed Louis Prima on stage in Louis & Keely: Live at the Sahara to critical and popular acclaim, is currently getting under the skin of Lord Buckley and creating an intense, furiously fast and deliriously brazen characterization through word and song that manifests a truly dizzying brilliance. On November 2 and 3 - back by popular demand - Broder brought the show to the Inner Circle of the Magic Castle for the second time this year.

Dividing the show into two acts, Broder does a stand up performance as 'His Royal Hipness' Buckley with a comedy announcer, very funny Michael Lanahan, and a terrfic jazz trio: Derek Yellin on piano, Mark San Filippo on drums and Ryan Feves on bass. He intersperses the hip anecdotes with Buckley's original songs and old standards such as "What a Wonderful World", "Sunny Side of the Street" and "When the Saints Go Marching In", and also plays the sax ...  and the piano as Buckley doing his spicy impression of Ray Charles singing a torridly racial "Georgia". Other highlights are: 'Willie the Shake' Shakespeare, a swinging medieval Pied Piper from Robert Browning, Ghandi, referred to as the 'Hip Gan', Abe Lincoln or 'Lanky Link' portrayed delightfully by Lanahan delivering the Gettysburg Address and Buckley interpreting it in 'hip semantic', and Jesus, herein called "The Nazz". To say that Buckley was a subversive is an understatement, as he was frequently thrown in jail, and within this act, he comically seeks out a new government a Hip ocracy wherein Dizzy is President, Aretha: First Lady, Stevie Wonder: Secretary of Fine Arts and Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong: Secretary of Agriculture, the 'pop of the crops'. Buckley's position in the cabinet becomes Secretary of Love who freely smokes joints (herbal cigs, really!) while performing and advocates his groovy 'love sticks' throughout the gig.

If it sounds psychedelically crazy and bizarre, well, it is, and Broder and Lanahan, and the musical trio make it all come off like one big festive party full of love and happiness. Can you dig? Solid! As well as delivering great monologues of past legendary figures from Buckley's original recordings - of which there is a sizeable collection - Broder manages to throw in contemp commentaries on Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen and of course, Obama, as if Lord Buckley's keen perspective were alive and still vibrantly with us.

I went in loving Broder's immense genius, and came out, not only loving it even more, but with a great sense of enlightenment that I had never before experienced! A good show with its own magical vibes!
(Broder backed on bass left: Ryan Feves and right: Hip News Announcer: Michael Lanahan) (Photo credit, except top pic: Brian Putnam)

No comments:

Post a Comment