Saturday, November 26, 2016

GERMANY: Theo Bleckmann- Elegy (2016)

Theo Bleckmann: voice
Shai Maestro: piano
Ben Monder: guitar
Chris Tordini: double-bass
John Hollenbeck: drums

Beyond being a vocalist of rare purity and daring, Theo Bleckmann is a sound painter who creates what JazzTimes has described aptly as luminous webs in music.

The German-born New Yorker after appearing on two ECM albums by Meredith Monk and another by Julia Hülsmann makes his striking label debut as a leader with Elegy. This album showcases Bleckmann as a composer as much as a singer, with several instrumental pieces voiced by what he calls his ambient band of kindred-spirit guitarist Ben Monder, keyboardist Shai Maestro and the subtle rhythm team of Chris Tordini and John Hollenbeck.

Highlights include Bleckmanns sublime rendition of Stephen Sondheims Comedy Tonight (tragedy tomorrow... comedy tonight), as well as the mellifluous vocalise of Little Elegy and achingly poetic To Be Shown to Monks at a Certain Templ