Paul Reiser‘s latest TV show got caught in the crossfire at NBC. But Reiser is also rising to the occasion–last night he played a gig at the Highline Ballroom with spectacular vocalist Julia Fordham. Reiser is a long time pianist and songwriter. When he heard Fordham’s amazing voice on the radio, he knew he had to work with her. The result is this mini tour–they play the Roxy in West Hollywood on August 2nd–and a whole album recently released called “Unusual Suspects.” A song from the album called “Unsung Heroes” has been adopted by veterans groups as an anthem for soldiers returning from Afghanistan. Last night, staff sergeant Kevin Gebo — on loan from the Army– was a guest on the show and played a haunting trumpet solo on a couple of songs including “Unsung Hero.”
Gebo usually plays with an outfit called Pershing’s Own Ceremonial Band, and performs “Taps” at an average of 8 funerals a day at Arlington National Cemetery. He’s only 28, so it’s a heavy burden, but he does it with aplomb. Anyway, Fordham was sensational as always, mixing her new Reiser songs with favorites like “Happy Ever After”– rewritten to reflect support for Japanese earthquake help–and her masterworks like “Stay” and “Manhattan Skyline.” Reiser, meanwhile, told me he’s loving his new side career as a musician but is having trouble staying up late. “I can’t believe how exhausting this has been,” he said, yawning, around 1am. It’s a long time since he’s done late night comedy clubs. How about his pal, Jerry Seinfeld? “Are you kidding? He’s in bed by 8,” joked Reiser.