Styles: Modern Big Band, Christmas, Dance Bands, Swing, Holidays, Sweet Bands, Opera, Classical
Leader of the Palast Orchester, Max Raabe was known for his adherence to a style long thought past, that of dance and film music of the 1920s and '30s. With Palast Orchester, Max Raabe created his own style within that genre, incorporating modern tunes - such as "Oops...I Did It Again" by Britney Spears - into the retro sound of pre-World War II European dancehalls. He also starred in a number of musical theater roles, including Threepenny Opera in 1999, which saw him share the stage with fellow German performer Nina Hagen. In 2008, Raabe and the Palast Orchester released their well-received 2007 Carnegie Hall performance on CD and DVD, entitled Heute Nacht Oder Nie (or, for those keeping up in English, "Tonight or Never").
- Chris True (All Music Guide)
Mankind can be compassionate after all. In 1992, the only 29 year old Max Raabe resorted to pleading with a song which came to unexpected fame. To the rhythm of a tango, the bad-mooded poet and singer moans and complains about no one ever calling him on the phone and, even worse, no one being interested in him either. This urgent plead of not any longer unknown Raabe has been noticed eventually. Today, fans from America to Lithuania are enthusiastic about him. In Lithuania, Raabe and his Palast Orchester could sell even more copies of their latest album than the Beatles and made it to number one in the charts. Well, now and then, it seems, he is getting a few phone calls these days.
Two things are black in Max Raabe's life: The tails he is wearing on stage and sometimes his sense of humour. Mr. Raabe made his first musical steps in the children's choir of his local community, later on in boarding-school in East-Westfalia and the local church choir. At the age of 18, he fled the influence of the Paderborn bishopric, went to a city that was, although encircled by the Wall, liberal-minded and cosmopolitan and was to become the cradle of his fame: Berlin.
It was to prove itself to be wise and far-sighted to found the Palast Orchester in 1986. Two years after having invested in his musical future by doing so, Mr. Raabe enrolled at the Hochschule der Kunste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Berlin and started his studies of opera singing, an education that took seven years, which he completed with a degree as certified baritone.
Max Raabe and film. 1992 was a very important year for him in many ways. Not only did he use ft to compose the superhit about his non-ringing phone, but also to gather experience In film. He had a role as "Pupil" in director Peter Zadeck's adaption of "The Blue Angel". Two years later he played the part of "Dr. Siedler" in the Berlin production of an operetta titled "lm weisien Rossi" which gained cult status. In director Sonke Wortmann's film "Der bewegte Mann" Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester appeared, soon followed by his role of completely drunk anti-alcoholic Attila in TV production "Charley's Aunt". Last, but not least, director Werner Herzog. Raabe appears with the Palast Orchester in his latest film. In "Invincible" he plays a compere, presenting a variety programme in the 30s.
Raabe has no problems to entertain his audience with an all-night one-man show, accompanied only by "his" piano-player Christoph Israel. A rather cheerful and very amusing programme it is indeed, this mixture of well-known cabaret songs of the 20s and 30s and Mr. Raabe's own material, he started to write in the 90s, constantly piling up song after song. One can imagine these songs as offshoots from the ,.little green cactus", but also as new cultivations. Anyhow, serious studies of serious classical high culture didn't make Mr. Raabe follow that direction exclusively, which doesn't mean he isn't serious about what he's doing.
What stays most important for Mr. Raabe's musical life is nevertheless his co-operation with the Palast Orchester. Not content with huge successes like "You're The Cream In My Coffee" and other 20s and 30s songs in general, the Palast Orchester has started to explore areas of classical and pop music as well. At the end of the year 2000, they released a CD with Kurt Weill songs "Charming Weill" and "Hits des Jahres" (Hits of the year) with cover-versions of current pop hits. The answer to the huge success of that pop CD was the release of "Superhits 2" in 2002.
2003 marks the year of the "Palast Revue", the most sophisticated and complex program Max Raabe & Palast Orchester have ever performed. Entirely sold out shows totaling 18 weeks in Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin and enthusiastic media reports lay the ground for the release on both double CD and double DVD, the latter featuring tons of never before seen, intimate material besides a full two hours concert. Greatly appreciated by the fans and media the project becomes the most successful in Max' career to date. With unique stage decorations, a huge projection screen and a ballet of 9 dancers Max inimitably leads the audience from the classic songs of the 20's and 30's over especially arranged american swing music to Italian and even great Spanish songs. Broadening the stylistic range of the classic Palast Orchester repertoire prooves to be a fantastic idea as the show is booked up to 2006. The self-penned and humorous "Klonen kann sich lohnen" (cloning can make sense), represents the climax of the show provoking standing ovations regularity.