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BWW Review: JACOB KHALIL TRIO: AUTUMN IN NEW YORK Showcases an Eclectic New Artist at Pangea

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Jacob Khalil is an Impressive Shape Shifter

BWW Review: JACOB KHALIL TRIO: AUTUMN IN NEW YORK Showcases an Eclectic New Artist at Pangea

The wonderful thing about living and writing in New York City is you get to see some of the greatest jazz artists in the world. And as thrilling as that is, the thing that really makes New York such a chrysalis of artistic activity is not the big names, it's all the talented and aspiring artists that are learning their craft and making bold experiments on the way to the top. Our little 12-mile island is the perfect laboratory for a young voice to observe the most successful artists and take a piece here and take a piece there until they have completely found their own voice.

Jacob Khalil is a fairly recent resident of New York. He moved here only a year ago after time spent in Texas and Utah and Las Vegas. His style is remarkably eclectic. At the root, he is a jazz artist, but he also dabbles in piano-based pop, standards, and straight-up show tunes. He also is very at home as a singer/songwriter. Jacob Khalil is exactly the musician that New York was designed for. He is a very talented singer in search of an individual voice.

His show last night at Pangea Jacob Khalil TRIO: AUTUMN IN NEW YORK, was a wonderful showcase of the many styles and facets of his musical gifts. His voice is an incredibly pleasant asset. It is a mellow, lyrical, and string-like instrument that he uses in a very dextrous way for someone so young. He has a keen sense of phrasing that emphasizes lyrics without becoming too "actory" about it. His pianistic style tends to be more of the percussive rather than the lyrical school, emphasizing big block chords that create an aural landscape rather than intricate internal lines. His trio, composed of himself and Raul Reyes on bass and Donovan Taylor on drums worked as a tight unit.

BWW Review: JACOB KHALIL TRIO: AUTUMN IN NEW YORK Showcases an Eclectic New Artist at Pangea

They opened with one of the most popular of jazz standards, "Misty." He put a great spin on the Gershwin classic, "S'wonderful" and gave a delightful samba treatment to Astrud Gilberto's "Dreamer." He truly shined on Johnny Mercer's iconic "Skylark." He explained that he is frequently a piano bar performer, and like anyone who takes requests for a living, he gets asked for Billy Joel a lot. The trio gave us a version of "Just the Way You Are" with just a bit of a jazz edge to keep it interesting. He gave us some real Broadway flair with "Almost Like Being in Love, some alt-rock in Radiohead's "High & Dry" and some great R&B in Stevie Wonder's Knocks Me Off My Feet."

As wonderful as these great jazz and pop tunes were, the place where Jacob Khalil and his trio really soared was in the songs that were penned by Khalil himself. He has a gift with melody and unabashed ease with a romantic lyric that is a comforting thing to listen to. He sang a song that is a simultaneous homage to and parody of Billy Joel's "Piano Man," that bane of every piano bar performer's existence. His song "Piano Guy" tells us about the same experience from a somewhat more jaded point of view. His song "Flame" is a very well-constructed tune about love and desire. "I Never Knew" is about how love grows in unexpected ways inside a relationship. It was dedicated to his wife, Victoria. He also gave us the world premiere of a song last night which he just finished this week. "Wrapped Around Your Finger" has the kind of hook that all songwriters dream of.

I'm excited to see what a second year in New York will do for Jacob Khalil. I hope it will bring us more of his own original tunes, which are inventive and heartfelt. He is an artist just on the cusp of finding a very personal style. He and his trio deserve a devoted following.

BWW Review: JACOB KHALIL TRIO: AUTUMN IN NEW YORK Showcases an Eclectic New Artist at Pangea

For more information about Jacob Khalil, visit his website jaobkhalil.com or follow him @jacobkhalilmusic on Instagram. His music is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and all major streaming platforms. For more great events at Pangea, go to pangeanyc.com


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