It’s not been lost. It comes back time and time again as evidenced by the Supremes, Annie Lennox, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Boz Scaggs, Bette Midler and more. It’s in our schools’ music curriculum. It’s on our televisions expounding the virtues of Barnes & Noble with Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. The Great American Songbook lives on and is resurging once again as an art form to be cherished, desired and performed.
Kerrykate & Chuck, WNY Cabaret artists performing now for 17+ years, make it their goal to perpetuate the art form in their performances. They know the importance of the works in the past as integral compositions versus recordings, but also for the future of our youth and their understanding of the art as well as its legacy for generations to come. They know the venue – Cabaret – and want to bring the style to our homes as well as their performances.
The two met at the old Art’s Attic at the Stage Door on Allen Street where Kerrykate came in and dropped a pile of song books at Chuck’s piano one night. Chuck had been performing in piano bars for many years and had the opportunity to work with Marvin Hamlisch in Buffalo’s Star Search, which he won handily over 149 others. “…he told me that he had also worked in cabaret, early in his career, and that he’d actually played for Judy Garland a couple of times, when she would go out. He was fascinating.”
As for the eventual pairing of these two talented locals, there was loads of laughter and partying and then they realized it was time to get serious and auditioned for The O’Neill Cabaret Symposium where they were able to study and expand their education of Cabaret under the tutelage of the late, great Julie Wilson, Sally Mayes, Lina Koutrakos, and the late Margaret Whiting. Chuck Basil describes the event as “life changing.”
Kerrykate Abel had been the producer of Buffalo United Artists’ (BUA) Cabaret Series from 2009-2012 where she sought to showcase local talent, and to reignite the public’s appetite for intimate entertainment in a casual setting. Chuck Basil was an integral performer in that series and since that first time in Art’s Attic to the Cabaret Series to now, the two together both have an unmatched passion and talent for Cabaret as well as a new focus on the promotion of the art through a recording they hope to have in the can by Cabaret Month in March 2016.
Buffalo wasn’t ready for the New York City stylings of Cabaret back when they started, but they continued to press on with their live performances throughout our region and now, with the constant emphasis on the classics from Jazz, Blues and Broadway, all essential elements from the Great American Songbook garnering media attention and admiration, they feel it’s time.
Kerrykate & Chuck have recently launched their website and social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Channel and others. Most recently, however, a meeting was held with Robby Takac regarding their proposed recording at his GCR Audio studios. “Robby was the fabulous guide of how to implement and develop our concept and all the things that need to coincide for a successful project.” said Kerrykate. “We’re very excited to get going on this and truly promote the artform to our New Buffalo.” added Chuck.
But, this is where it gets tricky. As with anything, to effectively provide quality in a recording process, it takes money. Therefore, a “GoFundMe” page was recently launched where the two hope to obtain crowd funding for the project. The dollars raised will allow for additional studio musicians; video recording; promotion; CD pressing; licensing; recording, mixing and mastering along with all the other essentials that will make this project one for the books on our local music scene.
Check out their Facebook page and website and consider helping them launch their project in time for the Cabaret Month in March. It’s all to assist in not only promoting the artform but local music and education, plus two of Buffalo’s own legacy performers.