July 31st, 2013
The luckiest among us find what they're meant to be doing and the synergy is obvious. When passion and natural born ability come together it's a beautiful thing. Jherek Bischoff has been making music for years. As a boy, he performed with his parents aboard their family boat for small audiences offshore. Over the years, he learned a variety of instruments and played with a number of bands. Recently he went through a metamorphosis. The recordings he'd make with friends starting sounding more like an orchestra and less like indie rock. Fast forward a bit and his solo debut "Composed" was released a few weeks ago. It's a stunningly strong album of orchestral pop filled with guest vocalists including David Byrne, Caetano Veloso, and Nels Cline. Bringing the music in his head to life was a labor of love and pure genuis. Jherek rode his bike around Seattle with recording equipment in a backpack, visiting friends with his sheet music and capturing multiple takes of them laying down their parts in their living rooms. The resulting album is so well arranged and mixed that it sounds like a professionally recorded orchestra. It's quite the accomplishment. Mr. Bischoff has found his calling.
Backed by the large and rock solid New York ensemble Contemporaneous, Mr. Bischoff treated the packed house to a top shelf performance. Jumping from bass to ukulele to drums to vocals, Jherek proved to be a masterful multi-instrumentalist. The setlist spanned from achingly gorgeous summer morning sonatas rich in strings to heart pounding climaxes of cellos, deep bass and smashing cymbals. Jen Goma of People Get Ready sang about half the songs as a guest vocalist. The range and emotion of her delivery fit perfectly with Jherek's arrangements. Overall, this was a perfect show to get Quooklynite going again. It had been a couple of weeks since I'd seen a show. Like Jherek, I felt like I was right where I should be. Don't get much better than that.