The terms “genre-bending” and “unclassifiable” are thrown around a lot today in musical discourse, but one performer who truly fits those descriptors is vocalist Theo Bleckmann. Bleckmann’s voice is a singular instrument: a rich, plaintive baritone one moment and an ethereal halo of a falsetto the next. He can deliver a lyric with unmatched nuance and clarity, or multiply his voice into an unearthly choir using a rig of electronics. Bleckmann has worked with artists as diverse as the iconoclastic vocalist and composer Meredith Monk, drummer/composer John Hollenbeck, guitarist Ben Monder, and the plugged-in jazz group Kneebody. Bleckmann’s own projects as a leader have covered a huge aesthetic ground, from the music of Weimar Germany to Kate Bush to nursery rhymes to his own settings of poetry. This Fall, Bleckmann will be featured at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival in a collaboration with the poet Carl Hancock Rux and director Anne Bogart.
On Friday, May 29th, Bleckmann will perform at The Jazz Gallery in a duo setting with pianist Shai Maestro. A Gallery regular, whether playing with bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Ziv Ravitz in a collaborative trio or backing up the likes of guitarist Gilad Hekselman, Maestro always imbues his music with a delicate touch and effortless lyricism. Like Bleckmann, Maestro juggles many projects simultaneously—his trio with Roeder and Ravitz will release their newest record, Untold Stories (Motema Music), in July.
Bleckmann and Maestro make a natural pairing, so it’s somewhat of a surprise that their first performance together was just a month ago at the Brooklyn Public Library. The Gallery is proud to present these peerless musicians on Friday for an evening of exploratory song.