Jann Klose – Mosaic
I first met Jann Klose at Undercurrents Music Conference in Cleveland in the late ’90s, where I chatted with him briefly and later reviewed a recording that contained selections from his Enough Said release. Not too long thereafter, in 2000, Jann relocated to New York City. We stayed in touch off and on over the years. I followed his career even while I was out of the business, something made easier by the fact that he ended up working with a publicist whose press releases have consistently graced my inbox for the better part of two decades.
As for Jann’s backstory, as you can read elsewhere, he grew up in Kenya, South Africa, Germany and the United States and now lives in New York. More recently, his voice was featured in the 2012 film Greetings From Tim Buckley. The album I’m reviewing, Mosaic, won three 2014 Independent Music Awards.
EP Review of Jann Klose: Mosaic
During the last decade and a half, while living in New York, Jann has built a solid music career on the strength of his strong, versatile, identifiable vocals and his insightful, crisp, varied songwriting, joining the ranks of New York’s exceptional pop-rock singer-songwriters. With his album Mosaic, Jann has crafted a varied collection of memorable, radio-friendly songs with cross-genre appeal.
The disc opens with “Make It Better,” an energetic pop-rock song with a catchy hook that – paired with its engaging video and timely message of tolerance, acceptance, and equality – is perfectly in step with the marriage equality movement this past year. It’s followed by “Know What’s Right,” another song imploring action, this one leveraging Jann’s ability to deliver a powerful, insistent vocal with conviction within the confines of a mid-tempo acoustic guitar rocker.
Jann’s voice has a rich texture that helps create emotional ballads, as well, and he employs that extremely effectively on “On and On” and “Still.”
Another ballad, “Long Goodbye,” shows off Jann’s rockin’ guitar chops as it builds in power late in the song; combined with Jann’s wail, there’s a bit of ’70s wall-of-sound flavor during the latter parts to this particular track. You’ll find a similar ’70s guitar rock feel to the more uptempo “Falling Tears,” as well.
Jann shows off a folky side, as well, with catchy country-folk-pop-infused numbers like “Four Leaf Clover” and “Beautiful One.” I want to say “The Kite” also fits this style, though it’s really just more of a catchy song, one that will creep into your mind an unleash itself back into your consciousness when you least expect it.
Jann closes the album by showcasing a clear, almost Gospel-like vocal on his powerful, a capella version of Tim Buckley’s ballad “Song to the Siren.” Just wow. Seriously.
The “Special Edition” of Mosaic, it contains six additional songs. They’re demo versions of some of the 10 songs on the album (plus the song “Anything”), which tend to be rougher instrumentally, showing off Jann’s vocals. They’re a nice added bonus.
In total, Mosaic showcases a talented singer-songwriter’s skills by weaving many diverse influences into a cohesive, engaging album of hummable, radio-ready pop-rock songs with social, lyrical, and musical depth. As a listener, you’ll have a different favorite song depending on your mood each day, and you’ll catch yourself singing a few as you walk around during your day. This is an exceptional collection of songs and a great performance.
Jann’s next release is a collaboration with Gary Lucas. Gary Lucas & Jann Klose: Stereopticon is scheduled for a January 8, 2016 release. (Watch for a review of that in the coming weeks.)
Jann will also kick off 2016 on tour. Dates listed on his website include shows in Germany January 2-10 (hitting Hamburg, Barmstedt, Lübeck, Kiel, Osnabrück, and Bielefeld), a January 13 gig at The Bedford in London (a venue I visited during my “Five Nights in London” a few weeks ago), and California gigs at the NAMM show in Anaheim on January 22nd and at The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles on January 27th. Jann already has several other shows listed as he begins to fill in his 2016 calendar, so be sure to check his website to see if/when he’ll be near you next year.