Jazz vocalist Theo Bleckmann takes on Kate Bush in project “Hello Earth!”

After tackling American maverick composer Charles Ives and receiving a Grammy nomination for it, jazz vocalist Theo Bleckmann now takes on the mysterious songbook of British pop recluse Kate Bush in the project “Hello Earth!.”  The CD will be released in the U.S. on March 13.


This project goes beyond merely re-creating Kate’s Bush music, taking it into other realms of sound and interpretation. Her use of British and Irish myths, her references to psychology, literature and film, her meticulously multi-layered productions and her unusually high voice make her idiosyncratic body of work challenging for other artists to interpret.


Joining Bleckmann in this venture are long-time collaborators percussionist John Hollenbeck and electric bassist Skúli Sverrisson, and keyboardist Henry Hey and violinist/guitarist/vocalist Caleb Burhans, who can also be heard on Bleckmann’s “Berlin” CD. 


“When I set out to do this, I knew right away that these were the perfect musicians for this kind of project,” said Bleckmann in a recent news release. 


Hollenbeck, a brilliant composer and arranger of his own, contributed his vast orchestrational palette and ideas to the music, including the use of crotales which greatly shaped the sound of this record. Sverrisson and Bleckmann also go back many years and have worked together in various configurations (including Laurie Anderson’s band). Sverrisson’s profound sense of sound and layering and his compositional instincts became essential to the music. Keyboard wizard (and newly appointed musical director for George Michael) 


Henry Hey, whom Bleckmann worken with here for the first time, contributed a vast array of sounds and possibilities, transforming and bringing to life Bleckmann’s initial ideas. Caleb Burhans is perhaps one of the most sought after young musician/composers on the New York downtown scene today.


 ”I wanted someone who could play many different instruments, loop, improvise and sing, which pretty much eliminated everyone but Caleb,” Bleckmann said. “For the recording, I chose to overdub myself and add more harmonies, but in performance Henry Hey and Caleb Burhans play AND sing.”


Grammy nominated and ECHO award recipient, Bleckmann has additionally collaborated with musicians and composers, including Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, John Hollenbeck, Sheila Jordan, Phil Kline, David Lang, Kirk Nurock, Ben Monder, Michael Tilson Thomas, Julia Wolfe, Kenny Wheeler, John Zorn, the Bang on a Can All-stars, and, most prominently, Meredith Monk, with whom Bleckmann worked as a core ensemble member for fifteen years. He has been interview by Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air and recently performed with Laurie Anderson on The David Letterman show.


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