Patrick DeGennaro at the Iridium
Patrick DeGennaro, singer, ever-creative songwriter, pianist, and educator, not to mention heartthrob, made his debut at the Iridium on September 9, celebrating the release of his EP, “All I Need,” and introducing not only the four original songs on the EP, but also four other songs that he wrote this year. The occasion marked the Iridium debuts of his band members and back-up singers, Alec Berlin on guitar, Jørgen Kjaer on keyboards, Steve Count on bass, Clayton Craddock on drums, and vocalists Jen Heaney and Rachel Sullivan, as well. Patrick was at the Steinway for some of the songs, his own and covers of others’.
As noted when I reviewed his earlier appearances, at Birdland and elsewhere, Patrick’s music mostly concerns love, both hopeful and hopeless. “Anyone Else,” powerhouse and pulsating, and sung with his backups, found him trying hard in a relationship and wondering if it’s worth it or if he and the significant other should pursue other partners instead. In “The One,” on the EP, Patrick considered the “game” that “love is” and that Mr. Right and “the one right now” may be one and the same, and gave us some head tone interludes, something always appreciated. In “Naked Sun,” he sang, with enthusiasm, of sunbathing nude, an increasingly endangered pursuit, on the Fire Island beach, where he completed composing most of his songs. “Why Not Me,” heartfelt and heartrending, from the EP, began with “I hate everybody … except for you,” as he sang, with drive, of unrequited love and, as in some of his other works, ended abruptly.
Patrick’s new “Falling (from a distance … with you),” with the band and the backups, sounded upbeat, but expressed not just anticipation, but pain and hurt as well—“I’m so afraid of you” was a sentiment heard here. “They say that love is not a choice,” Patrick began, singing solo, from the piano, with full feeling, and though the relationship may be hanging by a thread, and despite the heartache, urged or begged the loved one to “Stay,” also on the EP. In title track “All I Need (is to remember … you’re the best thing for me),” on the other hand, he truly cherished and savored the most magical moments in an affair. He was back at the keyboard, and was joined by the band members and back-up singers, for his Aretha Franklin-inspired, surefire showstopper “I Used to Be.”
In his early show, Patrick had yielded center stage to singer Heaney for a couple of songs, and in the late one, which I heard, to Sullivan, with Heaney backing her up. Covering familiar Whitney Houston song “How Will I Know,” with guitarist Berlin, and with soul and spirit, Sullivan handily hit all high notes and low notes, Whitney-style, and her “Gypsy Queen (and her tambourine and the fella that comes in between),” by her musician husband Chris Sullivan, boasted the full colorful throb and wail of music of the Roma.
Patrick included a couple of songs from his 2009 CD “Unbroken,” opening the concert by proudly singing “Standing Up Straight,” a survivor’s song, delivered with verve and in polished tone, and included his haunted, haunting “I Hear Your Voice in the Rain,” in which he replayed scenes of rejection by a loved one. Patrick also gave us a couple of covers of music that he loves. The Beatles’ beautiful ballad “She’s Leaving Home,” was sung and played with elegance and, assisted by both band and back-ups, with his vocal line contrasting with and sometimes, in mixed voice, higher than the women’s. In Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” a duet with guitarist Berlin, he both sang, with wonder, of innocence and effectively brought out the underlying hints of the loss of innocence.
Visit Patrick DeGennaro’s Facebook page or http://www.reverbnation.com/patrickdegennaro for further information.