Critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Jann Klose was born in Germany and raised in Hamburg and Kenya, South Africa. He arrived in the United States as an exchange student in Cleveland. It wasn’t long before he was performing in the Cleveland Opera Chorus. He went on to perform in touring productions of such Broadway shows as Jesus Christ Superstar and Jeckyll & Hyde. He also played The Pinball Wizard in a production of The Who’s Tommy. Recently, he was a featured guitarist and vocalist in Dan Algrant’s film Greetings From Tim Buckley starring Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl, Easy A) and Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later, Cracks). It was released in select theatres on May 3rd and is now available for rental via iTunes or On Demand via most cable providers.
Jann’s new album, Mosaic, opens with an upbeat song called “Make It Better.” “If you don’t know love, you don’t know life,” Jann sings, his voice full of emotion and beaming with optimism. Stylistically, his voice and songwriting split the difference between Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen. His lyrical phrasing also calls to mind the solo work of Colin Hay. “If you don’t know what’s right, you gotta take a side,” he sings during “Know What’s Right.” It projects the sort of Lennon-esque optimism of “Make It Better,” but proves that Jann isn’t blindly optimistic. “Don’t you know that, the stage is set to fight / the game is on,” goes the infectious chorus. The album continues with the moving ballad “On and On,” which allows Jann to really open up his voice and show what wide range — and fantastic falsetto — he possesses.
The most stunning song on Mosaic is “Still,” a mellow tune in the vein of Joshua Radin which simply consists of Jann singing and gently playing an acoustic guitar. “If I ever pass this way again / think of me fondly still,” he sings “No I never meant to run away / and I love you still.”
Later, there’s the delightful “Beautiful One,” a country-flavored tune featuring catchy banjo by Chris Marolf and touching violin by Leah Potteiger. Both musicians are members of Jann’s band, The Edukators, and contributed to the arrangements on the album. (Marolf also plays bass on the album.) The band also includes drummers Rob Mitzner and Patrick Carmichael and keyboardist/accordionist Lars Potteiger. The record also features contributions by guest guitarists David Bendeth and Florian Ophale, flautist Tia Roper and oboist Megan Marolf.
The album closes with a superb a cappella cover of Tim Buckley’s “Song of the Siren.” Hearing Jann sing the song is like trying on a jacket in a thrift shop and discovering that it fits perfectly. He wears Buckley’s words and melody as though they were his own and his emotive rendition rivals the original.
With influences that include reggae, calypso, folk, classic rock and Afro-beat, Jann is a singer/songwriter with a full bag of tricks and one to watch. I assure you — he’s one of the most talented cats you’ll hear all year.