270

Theo Bleckmann: Origami

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz needs more vocalists like Theo Bleckmann. Bleckmann skirts the well-worn path of the standards repertoire, preferring instead to stick with original or group compositions and pieces off the beaten track. He avoids any ostentatious displays of virtuosity. And he liberates a distinctly legato, thick-hued delivery (of great range) which lends itself well to the pastoral settings found on Origami. In general, this record bears an introspective, melancholy feel. Bleckmann's open, bell-like accompaniment on the piano only enhances the effect. Origami occupies a distinct niche somewhere between choral chamber music, folk song, ambient minimalism, and downtempo jazz improvisation.

Bleckmann's electronic manipulations of the music on Origami mostly play a welcome supporting role, although on "I Remember You" he skips (yes, he skips, not your CD player) a slowly increasing number of times until it becomes a guessing game what word in the tune he's going to accent with 4 or 8 or 20 rapid-fire digital revisitations. Toward the end of the tune, there's nothing but incessant digital snips left. (Don't worry, they change. And it's interesting and good. )

The supporting cast on Origami consists of sympathetic players with plenty of experience in and out of the traditional jazz idiom. These four musicians do not regularly step out into solo space on Origami —and when they do, they tend to actively reinforce the general dark, consonant flavor of these pieces. Bleckmann's vocal performance includes verbal and non-verbal expositions, regularly using overdubs and understated electronic effects to introduce texture and counterpoint. His main strength as a performer lies in his exquisite sense for simple melodies, and he appears content to explore that territory at length.

For listeners interested in a fresh, personal angle to vocal jazz, Origami has amazing properties. However, be warned that mellow introspection is the flavor of the day: don't expect any flash-and-bang (except for the notable exception on "I Remember You"). Origami is most definitely a peaceful record for quiet listening.


Track Listing: DNA; Douce Dame Jolie; None Of The Above; Origami; Static Still; Alloy; I Remember You; Like Brother And Sister; Nova Scotia; An Den Kleinen Radioappart; Without Sky; Rhombicosidodecahedron; Life Is a Bowl Of Cherries

Personnel: Theo Bleckmann

Title: Origami | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Songlines Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Repeater" CD/LP/Track Review Repeater
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Far from Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far from Over
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Good Merlin" CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Up North" CD/LP/Track Review Up North
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "The Apple Of No" CD/LP/Track Review The Apple Of No
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 2, 2017
Read "Slægt" CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.