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Theo Bleckmann: Hello Earth! The Music of Kate Bush

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Great jazz singers are inveterate boundary-pushers, but even the boldest among them stop far short of the distances Theo Bleckmann travels. Over the past two decades, Bleckmann has created a singular pastiche that extends from Weimar cabaret and Italy’s Arte Povera movement to the songs of Charles Ives and dynamic partnerships with guitarist Ben Monder, pianist Fumio Yasuda and drummer-composer John Hollenbeck. It is hardly surprising that Bleckmann and Kate Bush are a match made in some Dalí-esque version of heaven.

Bleckmann digs deep into Bush’s first decade of work, drawing most heavily from her Hounds of Love, with emphasis on selections from the Tennyson-inspired Arthurian song cycle that fills that album’s second side. But to think of these as interpretations is to underestimate Bleckmann’s intent. Better to approach them as re-channeled dreamscapes. It’s as if he and his co-pilots-the brilliantly outré foursome of Hollenbeck, Henry Hey (piano, harpsichord, Fender Rhodes), Caleb Burhans (electric five-string violin, electric guitar) and Skúli Sverrisson (electric bass)-are space wanderers, bumping into 14 abstract installations and refracting them through their uniquely surreal perspectives.

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