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CHICAGO READER/Peter Margasak
"Vocalist Theo Bleckmann is one of the most flexible and uncategorizable figures on the New York scene; since the mid-90s he's been doing his thing in a niche of his own invention, somewhere between jazz, cabaret, classical, experimental, and improvised music. He's got a strong, precise voice and impeccable pitch control, and [...] I can't help but admire his range and curiosity. It's tremendously rare for a singer to realize the potential of the voice so thoroughly."

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DOWNBEAT/John Corbert
"[Bleckmann's] a gifted singer (and twister) of songs, his voice flexible and rich, his phrasing sensitive and clear…, which makes his precise articulation such a treat."

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THE NEW REPUBLIC/David Hajdu
The Year in Jazz / Ten musical high points /
January 1, 2008 / Theo Bleckmann at Cafe Sabarsky
 
"Bleckmann is a singer with emotional range to match his chops and rare command of the darker hues in the emotional spectrum."

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DOWNBEAT, USA/Shaun Brady
Theo Bleckmann Ben Monder Duo - At Night
**** (4stars)

“...so virtuosic and inventive a pair...the two share a subtle discipline that results in a focused, cohesive whole....For all its layered density, the album is about nothing so much as atmosphere. At Night is the intimate sound of being alone inside one’s own head. Bleckmann’s keening vocals flow over Monder’s cascading steel-string arpeggios, like a waterfall’s constant roar full of smaller ripples and eddies....Bleckmann never takes the traditional jazz vocalist’s approach to interpreting a lyric; he is much more of an instrumentalist, not just because of his frequent use of wordless vocals but because he distorts a lyric to conjure his own mood. Witness his haunting elongation of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Sunny Sunday’ or the way he strangles The Beatles’ ‘Norwegian Wood’ into tense overtones while Monder’s distorted axe snarls and bashes underneath....Rarely have such individual musicians sounded so single-minded.”

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The Village Voice/Francis Davis
Theo Bleckmann and Fumio Yasuda, Las Vegas Rhapsody—The Night They Invented Champagne (Winter & Winter).
"
The most transcendent vocal album in many a moon (for my money, anyway) reminds me of Björk's Selmasongs. Bleckmann's voice and Yasuda's orchestrations have the same blissfully troubling emotional pull."

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Citypaper, Philadelphia / Shaun Brady
The top ten jazz recordings of 2007
4. Theo Bleckmann/Ben Monder - At Night (Songlines)
"
Aptly named, this atmospheric set layers the seemingly limitless vocals of Bleckmann over Monder's stormy, portentous guitar; whether transforming "Norwegian Wood" into a distorted howl, stretching Joni Mitchell's "Sunny Sunday" like mournful taffy, or setting Rumi poetry or even wordless exultations to an acoustic waterfall, the duo paint a portrait of enticing isolation."

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Jazztimes / Brent Burton -
THEO BLECKMANN & BEN MONDER
At Night (Songlines)
"On At Night, the duo’s second recording, Theo Bleckmann and Ben Monder make the kind of music that critics often describe as genre-defying. Bleckmann, a vocalist who also contributes what he calls “live electronic processing,” sings in an off-kilter style that is reminiscent of Gastr Del Sol’s David Grubbs and Shudder to Think’s Craig Wedren, two of post-punk’s artiest crooners. And Monder, an electric guitarist, alternates between lighter-than-air melodies and distortion-rich atmospherics that suggest no one so much as John Abercrombie. Together, they sound otherwordly. It’s tempting to just say that this record is a beaut and leave it at that. But music this unusual requires a caveat. You see, for all of its gorgeousness—which is, on several tracks, bolstered by drummer Satoshi Takeishi—At Night’s vocals are an acquired taste. Bleckmann gives the lyrics odd shapes, and his higher-pitched moments make Joni Mitchell, whose “Sunny Sunday” is covered here, seem sort of butch. None of which makes this record any less good. It just makes it different—or maybe more mysterious. And the lyrics only add to the enigma. “No light and no land anywhere,” Bleckmann sings on the opener, “Late, By Myself.” “Cloud-cover thick/I try to stay/just above the surface/yet I’m already under/and living within the ocean.” As far as themes go, it’s a pretty good way to introduce a record that rewards unskeptical submersion. Knowing what to call this music doesn’t make it any more enjoyable. Sometimes it’s best just to dive right in." (November 2007 issue)

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The top ten jazz recordings of 2005
by Philip diPietro- - Jazz Journalists Association
"Is Bleckmann actually human? Does he eat people food? Can he really do this stuff? [best sideman performance: Theo Bleckmann,voice - Ben Monder, Oceana]"

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JAZZTHING / Ralf Dombrowski
[about Las Vegas Rhapsody]
"
And because his wonderfully flexible timbre, his emotional dedication and vocal competence go way beyond the usual measure of expression, the tribute to the entertainment's Eldorado became a champagne album to kneel down to."

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NEW YORK MAGAZINE / USA / Alica Zuckerman Brilliant!

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JAZZTHETIK / Guido Diesing
Fumio Yasuda/TheoBleckmann
Las Vegas Rhapsody - The night They Invented Champagne
5 stars (out of 5)
"
What is left at the end is only a yearning memory. When Theo Bleckmann sings about the dimming neon lights in the epilogue of "Las Vegas Rhapsody", and realizes that "now I see, that you and me would never be", it becomes a deeply moving swan song of a vocal-CD that hasn't been heard in a long time. Together with pianist and arranger Fumio Yasuda and the chamber orchestra Basel, the singer dives deeply into the world of of showtunes and early Musicals, sings to opulent and clever orchestra arrangements such evergreens as "you make me feels so young" or "smoke gets in your eyes". But thankfully, the Las Vegas that's being built here, musically speaking, has nothing to do with the superficial glow of lights and its emptiness associated with the gambler's paradise in the desert of Nevada. Melancholy is considered and part of it just as much as the knowledge that the promise of great happiness remains an illusion. In the orchestra warm strings dominate, which allow for Bleckmann to sing very delicately and at times almost shyly yet still achieving a sound that is full of pathos. His singing feels as light and natural as a dance scene with Fred Astaire: one knows how much craft and work goes into it, but never feels it. Sometimes, the experimental vocalist's refined techique and avant garde chops shine thru, in "Chim chim cheree" (from Mary Poppins) for example, or in "My favorite things", when he moves effortlessly through higher octaves and back, only to enforce the fact that, for variety's sake, everything is possible. In "Teacher's Pet", Bleckmann replaces an entire doo-wop-group; in "Gal in Kalamazoo" (from orchestra wives), he breaks speed records along with the hectic stride piano. It never gets monotone for one second, instead it becomes very moving, very often. Along with great orchestrations there are small ensemble pieces like "You Go To My Head" (only accompanied by marimba) and "Button Up Your Overcoat" (with swinging string pizzicato and piano). Through contrasts mainly one thing is achieved: the moments of pure beauty, in which Bleckmann's singing is so delicate that you stop breathing in order to not miss anything, become more beautiful for it. Avant gard-ists are the best romantics after all."

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NEW YORK MAGAZINE
The Cultural Elite 2005 in ARts, Music, Literature...etc.:
Best Meredith Monk Tribute
Theo Bleckmann at the BAM Café
"
In honor of her 40th-anniversary season, 2005 was studded with celebrations devoted to the avant-garde singer-composer-choreographer-filmmaker. But few were like the evening at the bam Café conducted by Bleckmann, a vocalist in Monk's ensemble and an odd and brilliant new-music and cabaret singer. His rendition of Monk's 1975 "Gotham Lullaby" was so beautiful it hurt. And his version of "Chewing Gum," a forties commercial jingle made famous by Monk's mother ("My mom gave me a nickel / to buy a pickle"), was adorable—and stuck in our heads for months."

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ALLABOUTJAZZ / Phil DiPietro
"Bleckmann possesses technique so colossal, yet so meticulous, he can seem otherworldly, an android-like embodiment of sci-fi vocalisms, a bodily vessel for that voice. Still, whether accompanied by actual words or not, the sounds wrought are undeniably the product of the indissoluble bond of that magical, futuristic technique with the spectrum of suffering and celebration emanating from the soul of their maker."

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JAZZTHING / Germany
"An unbelievable creature, a muse on wordless angels’ tongues that descends in spirals down to earth. The 38 year-old Theo Bleckmann, born in Dortmund and now a longtime New Yorker, has created loops that are not bound to time and layered them with his incomparable vocal artistry. The results are through and through spherical, never new age, but more like an accoustic Rorschach test."

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NY NEWSDAY / USA
THE BEST OF 2004/CLASSICAL MUSIC
Singing Stars
Vocalists stood out in myriad commanding performances that connected with audiences
BY JUSTIN DAVIDSON
STAFF WRITER; MARION LIGNANA ROSENBERG; Russell Platt
"
This was a wonderful year for singing[...]Then there was the downtown vocalist Theo Bleckmann, whose slender, plangent coo gave Phil Kline's "Zippo Songs" and "Rumsfeld Songs" gentle eeriness. At Merkin Hall and on a Cantaloupe CD, Bleckmann gave a ghostly, deadpan dignity to the secretary of defense's memorable testimony: "As we know, there are known knowns, there are things we know we know."

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TIME OUT NEW YORK / USA / James Gavin,
BURNING ISSUES
Unorthodox vocalist Theo Bleckmann takes a political stand at Joe's Pub
"
We are the unwilling/led by the unqualified/doing the unnecessary/the the ungrateful. The are a soldier's words, but they weren't voiced in Iraq. They were scratched on one of the military-issued Zippo lighters that became tiny writing tablets for Vietnam servicemen, many of whom never came home. During the Iraq invasion last year, composer Phil Kline turned those angry, frightened, sometimes witty inscriptions into Zippo songs, an acclaimed antiwar song cycle. Its eerie floating quality evokes the hazy netherworld of the battlefield, a limbo between life and death, rebellion and defeat. Now available on CD from the Cantaloupe label, Zippo songs was written with one singer in mind: Theo Bleckmann, the angel-voiced muse of the avant-garde. German-born but a longtime New Yorker, the boyishly handsome Bleckmann, 38, is best known for singing ethereal, wordless and often improvised soundscapes that blend ambient music, art song and jazz. For his Joe's Pub solo debut on Saturday 28, however, he has organized a night protest: To greet the Republican convention, he'll sing Kline's Zippo Songs and Rumsfeld Songs (based on the defense secretary's spectacular malapropisms), as well as his own Weimar Kabarett, a set of surprisingly pretty German antiwar compositions. Bleckmann's cool unearthly singing, uncanny in its accuracy, registers everything from shell shock to calm defiance. Most of the Kabarett numbers feature words by Bertold Brecht, whose excoriation of the Nazis forced him into exile. "I feel that a lot of Americans are in exile in their own country," Bleckmann says. "A lot of my friends feel we've been estranged from the government and from everything that's going on. It's morphed into something very scary - which the Third Reich was too." Born in Dortmund, a coal-mining town in northwest Germany, then given up for adoption, Bleckmann felt "dropped onto this earth, drifting around without any sense of belonging." In his teens he became a junior ice-dancing champion, but he learned he could soar even more freely with his voice. An early teacher, veteran jazz singer Sheila Jordan, convinced the timid youth that he had something to say, even without words. Since then, Bleckmann has emerged as the hub of a brainy group of uncategorizable New York composer-musicians that includes Meredith monk (with whom he tours regularly), John Hollenbeck, Kirk Nurock, Ben Monder and Todd Reynolds. "I'm on the road all the time with the craziest music in the world!" the singer exclaims with wonder. Now, in a crucial election year, Bleckmann feels compelled to speak out. He's appalled at the attacks on performers like Linda Ronstadt, who have dared to air their liberal views onstage. In the world we're living in, he say, "silence is the biggest danger."

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The Village Voice / USA / Kyle Gann
"A frequent Meredith Monk associate, Bleckmann is a jazz vocalist with an amazing ear, a thorough knowledge of bebop scales, and absolutely no inhibitions, as likely to wail like a monkey off an augmented 11th chord."

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OUT Magazine / USA / Andrew Velez
"Theo Bleckmann is a singer who often sounds like he's only recently fallen to earth. Using his three-and-a-half-octave range, Bleckmann is as adept at exploring new possibilities for wordless sounds as he is at delivering a sparely elegant rendition of Cole Porter's "Every Time We Say Goodbye." His utterances can seem like an aural Rorschach of Arabic tongue clicking, Japanese, machinery noise, and bird chirping, while still remaining unaffected and accessible."

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THE NEW YORK TIMES / USA / Ben Ratliff
"One strangely memorable tribute came from the singer Theo Bleckmann, who often sings without words, and as if he's from another planet. His arrangements for voice, accordion and drums of songs from the very old "Sisotowbell Lane" to the contemporary "Borderline" were so concentrated that the performance approached a séance. Some people take their Joni seriously; Mr. Bleckmann is one of them."

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NY PRESS / Molly Sheridan
"I FIRST ENCOUNTERED Bleckmann's pure vocal style and perfect intonation during a performance of Phil Kline's Zippo Songs earlier this year, and was so impressed I've been keeping an eye out for another opportunity to hear him. On Friday, that chance finally rolls around when Bleckmann (voice/loops) and John Hollenbeck (percussion/drums) bring their duo project to Barbès—a rare chance to hear them live in the city."It's going to be another Theo and John adventure, I guess," says Bleckmann of the upcoming show. As per usual with music I like, the description doesn't get much more specific than that. Even the artists themselves shy away from slapping a concrete genre label on it. "It's kind of ambient-free improv with a cinematic quality—very visual. I think in that way it's very accessible. It's not some two-hour-long masturbation of somebody just playing on and on and on."Both men have impressive road credits, including strong ties to Meredith Monk's ensemble. The duo is a happy outcome of that, born of their shared musical sensibilities and their touring connection. The history of collaboration allows them a certain measure of freedom on show night, since much of the preparation is already done. "We come with a full language that we can use or discard at any moment," explains Bleckmann. Part of that language involves the trunkload of plastic toys Bleckmann uses to further extend his own vocal techniques. Though he jokes about scouring the 99-cent stores for the cheesiest bits of plastic, he's quick to caution that ultimately it's an esthetic choice, not a gimmick. "I feel that they're really integrated into the sound structure. Everything is permitted, so a toy can have the same beauty as a human voice or a drum."It's just that kind of open thought process that makes Bleckmann such an intriguing artist. I have to admit that I skipped right over all the awards and accolades listed on his resume as soon as I noticed a film credit for developing a "space alien language."Yeah, I got a call to perform through some dialogue as if I was an alien. I had no idea what it was," Bleckmann recalls. "It sounded like a B- or even a cafe-movie, and I thought, 'What the heck is this Men in Black title about?'"

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THE ARTS, ONE WORLD Magazine / Egypt / Nabil Baghat
“THE ALEXANDRIA CARRY-ON is a performance that captures universal human conditions. The slave, played with exquisite specificity by Theo Bleckmann, transcends the four walls of his room into a network of relationships (slave-master, slave-love, slave-ignorance, slave-desire to learn), and what he ultimately communicates is a desire for peace that can only come through knowledge. He reveals the basic human desire-- no-- the basic human need: to know. And to know one another. To live in peace with ourselves and the other. THE ALEXANDRIA CARRY-ON is a testament to the forgotten act of generosity.

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Chicago Reader / USA / Neil Tesser -
"Vocal artist Theo Bleckmann provides a powerful incentive not only to attend but also to leave expectations at the door."

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Jazz Magazine / France / Philippe Méziat
"...you will find his style unique. Him being able to treat his singing from a baroque or contemporary point of view shows his greatness and the emotions that come with it. Theo Bleckmann possesses a timbre delicate and silky and he knows how to use it. He also has the technical vocal capabilities of the most diverse cultures. A very big success, that takes us away from the endless reincarnation of those homage records. One voice that works; there aren't many."

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KEYS / Germany
"Bleckmann is a vocal acrobat, he is capable of interpreting ballads most sensitively and puts so much yearning into his voice that your heart almost breaks."

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Jazzreview.com / USA / Glenn Astarita
"These musicians convey a noticeable sense of friendship and mutual respect during their periodic duo and ensemble based performances.  As a follow-up to their 1997 gem titled No Boat, guitarist Ben Monder and vocalist/EFX denizen Theo Bleckmann continue their rather magical sojourn, evidenced here on this wondrously appealing set. And it’s all shaded and firmed-up by drummer/percussionist Satoshi Takeishi’s world-beat rhythms and polyrhythmic timekeeping maneuvers. For only two musicians, they create an unusually dense musical canvass, sparked by Bleckmann’s multi-octave range and Monder’s diverse bag of tricks.  On “Late, By Myself,” notions of a dream-state come to fruition via Monder’s swirling acoustic guitar phrasings and Bleckmann’s sanctifying vocalise amid live electronics-drenched backdrops.  In various regions of this disc the duo generates a mélange of ethnocentric implications and alien sound sculptures partly due to Bleckmann’s use of voice manipulation technology.  And in other spots, Monder renders massive pastiches of sound with blistering single note lines and beefy crunch chords. The piece titled “Hymenium,” signifies a fragile beauty as the vocalist’s humming intonations are effectively counterbalanced by Monder’s airy volume control manipulations.  Nonetheless, the musicians inject an abundance of windswept passages into the grand mix.  But one of my favorite tracks is their quasi, grunge-rock treatment of The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood.”  Here, they impart an uncanny sense of equilibrium to coincide with a few cosmic meltdowns.  In sum, this is a very special genre-busting album that looms rather large among the finest recorded documents of 2007.  (Zealously recommended…)"

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DIE ZEIT / Germany / Anna Bianca Krause
"Theo Bleckmann's height-loving and experimental singing is especially influenced by women singers such as Yma Sumac or Meredith Monk. But when he sings "hear the wind blow", a gentle breeze moves through the room."

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DOWNBEAT, USA
/Fred Bouchard -
"Mad" genius.

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AllAboutJazz/Phil DiPietro
"Bleckmann possesses technique so colossal, yet so meticulous, he can seem otherworldly, an android-like embodiment of sci-fi vocalisms, a bodily vessel for that voice.

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JAZZTIMES, USA/Christopher Porter
Singers, often shoved to the tier of second-class musicians, regularly claim they want to be respected for their instrument, the voice, in the same way instrumentalists are praised for their horns, aces and keys. Theo Bleckmann' voice in an instrument nonpareil. The German-born singer and pianist often wordless vocals to create luminous webs of sound. He does not scat, for his music is far too delicate, deliberate and decorous to withstand that sort of verbal assault, but rather he sings airy tones with his three and a half octave range that evoke medieval chant, Bachlike chorale, Ivesian folk and minimalist drift. On origami he teams up with frequent partner and guitarist Ben Monder, vibraphonist Matt Moran, electric bassist Skuli Sverrisson and drummer John Hollenbeck for 13-song album otherworldly chamber-music tone. The song features a poem by Japanese writer Reiko Aoki sung by Bleckmann in its original tongue, and the tune billows over its six-minute run-time, its geometric sound-shapes layering and building into something that sounds akin to how origami looks: delicate, contoured, beautiful. Among the four cover songs which include Gauillaume de Machaut's "Douce Dame Jolie, Alexandra Montano's "Like Brother and Sister" and Hanns Eisler and Bertold Brecht's "And den kleinen Radioapparat," it is Johnny Mercer and Victor Shertzinger's "I Remember You" that gets the most remarkable treatment. Bleckmann croons the song in a somewhat traditional manner (for him anyway), but he incorporates digital glitches into the fabric of the piece so that it sounds like your CD is stuck for a moment, trapping you inside the song and its lovelorn narrator. Bleckmann's band is filled with players who have a light touch and who play with complete refinement. They, as much as their leader, are what make Origami a complete success.

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THE VILLAGE VOICE/Francis Davis -
Theo Bleckmann & Fumio Yasuda
Las Vegas Rhapsody: The Night They Invented Champagne
Winter & Winter
Hearing Theo Bleckmann sing "We Kiss in a Shadow" from another room, I half thought he was Nico. It was the trace of German in his fricatives and long vowels ("Our meetings are few/And over too soon"), but also the androgyny—in Bleckmann's case, a postmodern construct, a deliberate act of provocation, as opposed to Nico's all-fucked-out asexuality. I love Las Vegas Rhapsody: The Night They Invented Champagne, Bleckmann and pianist-arranger Fumio Yasuda's concept album of show tunes that stray from the he-man bebopper's approved jamming list (try "Out of My Dreams," from Oklahoma). But no one I've led to it has been quite as taken as I am—though one friend admits he hasn't been able to stop thinking about it, which might be just the reaction I was looking for. Too bad "haunting" has become depleted through overuse. Think Rufus Wainwright plus intonation and minus narcissism. Bleckmann, a competitive figure skater before becoming a Sheila Jordan protégé, is a member of Meredith Monk's ensemble and the wordless voice in drummer John Hollenbeck's orchestra. Although he scats convincingly here and there on Las Vegas Rhapsody, his real gift turns out to be for coaxing fresh meaning out of what one would have assumed were hopelessly dated lyrics—"We Kiss in a Shadow" could be about love in the closet. Multiplying himself by four on the catchy "Teacher's Pet" (the theme from a 1958 Clark Gable movie and the song Parker Posey auditioned with in Waiting for Guffman), he shoots past the Hi-Lo's to conjure up the Weimar Republic and the Comedian Harmonists. Yasuda demonstrates an unerring sense of when a lonesome glockenspiel or walking bass will do, and when to let the full Kammerorchester Basel rain down like Dvorak's Ninth (under Bleckmann's falsetto on the climax of "My Favorite Things," whose orientalism has nothing to do with Coltrane's modes). This is the future of cabaret, if cabaret knows what's good for it.

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OUT THERE, Japan/Yuko Zama
His vocal works are woven with subtle changes of each tone, evoking a transparent prism showing different colors and shades through the light. This ethereal feeling of space he creates, is quite unique and original to him. He can use the most complicated methods of vocal expression, but also can express a profound beauty in the simplest way which is overwhelming. Theo Bleckmann does understand the essence of music and the heart of songs deeply, and is able to express those spirits with extremely sensitive and warm humane vocals. Even the most subtle nuance of the music can be captured and expressed with his amazing sensitivity.

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BOSTON BLOBE, USA/Bob Blumenthal
Theo Bleckmann sounds like he can sing anything.

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FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG, Germany/Norbert Krampf
The first evening of the sixth edition presented the North- and South Pole at the intimate Studiotheater. Vocalist Theo Bleckmann stunned the audience with his ultra clear opening in "duet for One", that reminded one more of classical vocal artistry than excessive improvisations. The native German has been at home in the United States for many years and has since worked with Philip Glass, Bang on a Can and Steven Spielberg. He avoids fulfilling the audience's expectations with humble elegance and technical brilliance. His intonation leaves no doubt and the diamond-sharp clarity of his three and a half octave-range undertakes great intervallic leaps, throwing in percussive phrases into semi dreamy harmonies. Beyond that he entertains a delicate sense of nuances and humor.

"Static Still" features the singer with two toy music boxes in his hand, that, in a fragile moment, dream of freedom. A piece by Meredith Monk, whose ensemble he has been singing with, alternates between folkloristic phrases, funny scat and swinging rhythms. Much later, at the piano, he puts deep sorrow into a Requiem, enchanting romanticism into a lyrical ballad and engrossing melancholie into Cole Porter's "True Love". In between, the sensitive singer suggests vocal fragments through a sampler that become intensely transformed into dynamic loops. He hits the beat with children's toys, throws in fragments of pre-recorded sounds coming from a walkman or croons to a teddybear meanwhile imitating a skipping CD. Bleckmann's creative superiority is not afraid of pure beauty nor of overwrought fun and caricatures of kitsch.

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ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM/Phil DiPietro
a searing unison interplay between Monder and Bleckmann -either they rehearsed this passage for months or they have developed a familial telepathy from their years of collaboration.

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CADENCE MAGAZINE, USA
Theo Bleckmann has a very elastic voice capable of singing with moving simplicity and kicking up a parade of sound effects worthy of Bobby McFerrin.

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THE VILLAGE VOICE, USA/Jim Macnie
If improvising vocalist Bleckmann is this generation's Phil Minton (and he is), it's no wonder that his frownes, bleats, cack-les, and murmurs have such emotional oomph.

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SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, Germany/Ralf Dombrowski
EXPERIMENTING
Singing is difficult. Singing with words is a challenge. To sing without words is an art. Theo Bleckmann is very daring. The Dortmund-born singer, who has been living in New York for a decade, makes collages and water colors, destroys and re-constructs sounds, until almost nothing is left of the well trot expressions of Jazz language. The few standards that he in-cluded into his program at the Unterfahrt, seemed like little reconcilliating life savers amidst the experimental sounds in front of s stunned audience. Bleckmann works with layering and Irritation, with harmonies and contrast. Effortlessly and with breath-taking intonation he changes registers, departs from the semantic connection of the words, to then create soundscapes through new combinations of syllables and utterances and their associations. Sparsely, sometimes dry and introverted or edgy and loudly accompanied by the guitarist Ben Monder, he plays with vocal expressions, gargles and presses, breathes and screams, beams and triumphs. Bleckmann, who has also worked with Philip Glass and Meredith Monk, combines compositional and interpretive elements of the contemporary classical music with influences from experimental jazz. With dodecaphonic joy he jumps into variations of melodies creating new, fresh and provocative colors, sometimes directly, sometimes in dialogue with a sequencer. That is not always easy to listen to. A jazz concert for advanced listeners, powerful and convincing.

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ANDANTE, CLASSICAL, USA
On Sewing Machines and Self-Expression:
Mapping Color and the Future in Sound
Composer Theo Bleckmann is both a highly-respected jazz vocalist and a principal performer in the Meredith Monk Vocal Ensemble. His compositional work is informed by his connection to visual and performance art. He works with low-tech multitracking equipment, laying down different tracks live, singing through toy megaphones and varying his distance from the microphone to create rich textures. The Whitney Museum at Philip Morris presented his hour-long Fidget, for voice, bass, piano, percussion and three sewing machines.
As funny as that might seem, the effect of these unusual sound sources is quite moving. By gradually layering different manipulations of his own extremely versatile voice, he creates collages of great timbral variety. He then selectively removes these layers, and in so doing, often takes the listener in unexpected emotional directions. His focus always remains on organic sound: "To me, these moments always have to come out of sound and emotional urgency, not shtick or commentary."

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JAZZTIMES, USA/Nancy Ann Lee
Bleckmann is an uncommon male singer, a talented navigator who boldly surges against melodic currents yet always remains captain of his craft.

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WAZ, Germany
flying high vocally
Impressive "vocal flight" solo performance at the St. Petri church
New York based artist Theo Bleckmann presented his solo performance "vocal flight", which can also be translated as "on the wings of the voice", at the Petri Church on Thursday night. The performance had nothing to do with Mendelssohn's Lied by the same name, but the artist impressed with his perfectly controlled and well placed voice, exploring every last possibility. Theo Bleckmann's performance, which contains mostly his own composition, makes use of the simplest means such as the human voice and instruments such as a child's toy-rattle, a filled water bottle and a flower vase that he drops after singing Machaut's "Douce Dame jolie." In "vocal flights" Bleckmann positions himself in different places of the church and that way fully uses all of the acoustic and architectural idiosyncrasies of the space. The pews are positioned across from each other so that there remains a main performing area in the middle that is surrounded by the audience. Especially impressive are the electronic loops. These acoustic loops allow layering of different acoustic signals so that the developing sound sculpture becomes more and more complex. "Duet for one" seemed like there were almost two voices singing because of Theo Bleckmann's very beautiful use of the echo in the church.
The artist rewarded the long-lasting applause with his piece "Channel-Surfing." This composition was inspired by the smallness of his previous New York apartment, where Bleckmann used to be able to operate the television with his big toe. MLG