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Jazz Articles

LIVE REVIEWS

Theo Bleckmann and the Julia Hülsmann Trio at The Stone

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Theo Bleckmann and the Julia Hülsmann Trio The Stone A Clear Midnight: Kurt Weill and America New York, NY June 21, 2015 In late June of 2015, vocalist Theo Bleckmann held residency at New York's The Stone. The venue's interdisciplinary hipness was epitomized by Bleckmann's week-long tenure, during which his offerings spanned the gamut from solo improvisations and the music of Kate Bush to the presentation of Kurt Weill songs reviewed here. For this ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Julia Hülsmann Quartet w/ Theo Bleckmann: A Clear Midnight - Weill and America

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Given enough time, things in life often come around full circle. Julia Hülsmann's three recordings for Munich's ACT label were all vocal affairs, where the German pianist's core trio--with bassist Marc Muellbauer and drummer Heinrich Köbberling--were joined by singers ranging from Norway's Rebekka Bakken to Germany's Roger Cicero. Since moving to another Munich label, the more heralded ECM Records, Hülsmann has demonstrated a more careful approach to expanding and evolving her work. Her first two recordings for the label--2008's The ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Theo Bleckmann: Hello Earth! The Music of Kate Bush

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Theo BleckmannHello Earth! The Music Of Kate BushWinter & Winter2012The 1980s possessed an incongruous hope for the future against a backdrop of possible nuclear annihilation, as if in the darkest of times, society retreated to a naive state. This is a generalization that doesn't, obviously, represent the entire gamut of human experience, yet it was there all the same. The majority of singer and composer Kate Bush's music came from that decade, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Theo Bleckmann: Hello Earth! - The Music of Kate Bush

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Vocalist Theo Bleckmann is a man of numerous modalities and ambitions. He's covered classical composer Charles Ives, teamed with heavyweight guitarist Ben Monder for experimental and improvised sojourns and, more recently, has performed and recorded with the always hip jazz unit, The Claudia Quintet. Here, Bleckmann treks into the pop-rock realm as he imparts a personalized touch to the music of iconic British singer/songwriter, Kate Bush. Bush's use of electronics, layered vocal parts, and futuristic production processes are also noted ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Claudia Quintet + 1 featuring Kurt Elling and Theo Bleckmann: What Is The Beautiful?

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Poetry has always been the libretto of jazz music. Even before epic works of the late Gil Scott Heron like “H2O Gate Blues" or “Winter in America" (which inspired the nations of rap and hip-hop), there was Langston Hughes with bassist Charles Mingus on Weary Blues (Verve, 1958), the great Amiri Baraka, and A.B. Spellman. Then there was Kenneth Patchen, one of The Rebel Poets of America, an enigmatic legend who, if he chose, might have laid claim to creating ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Claudia Quintet + 1 featuring Kurt Elling and Theo Bleckmann: What Is the Beautiful?

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Jazz and poetry have a longstanding relationship that precedes the postwar experiments of the Beats, dating back to the Harlem Renaissance. As with any artistic collaboration, the cooperative efforts of improvising musicians and poets have yielded mixed results over the years. One of the first artists to successfully explore this territory (with John Cage and Charles Mingus) was Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972), a poet, novelist and painter whose innovative work ranges from political protest and sardonic humor to sentimental romance. In ...

INTERVIEWS

Jen Shyu and Theo Bleckmann: Breaking the Song Barrier

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Before Robert Moog came out with the first synthesizer, before Adolphe Sax invented his famous reed instrument, before the trumpets sounded at Jericho, even before the world's ancient tribes tightened their animal skins to make drums, humanity's first instrument was the voice. Not that this is of particular consequence to Theo Bleckmann. “To me, that argument is completely moot because it doesn't matter what the first instrument was, it's what you make of it. Just because it may be the ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Theo Bleckmann at Le Poisson Rouge: The Music Of Kate Bush

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Theo BleckmannHello Earth! The Music of Kate BushLe Poisson RougeNew York , NYSeptember 22, 2010 Kate Bush is an iconic singer in the UK and in many other countries. As a nineteen year-old, she released her first album The Kick Inside (EMI, 1978), which contained two major hits: “Wuthering Heights," based on a television adaptation of Emily Bronte's famous novel; and “The Man With the Child In His Eyes," which contained many ...


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