Maintaining an artistic identity while interpreting Kate Bush's music is a chancy venture: With her emotional lyrics, theatrical flair and intricate arrangements, Bush leaves a powerful imprint on everything she writes. So it's especially triumphant when jazz singer Theo Bleckmann gives an enthralling reading of her classic "Love and Anger" on Hello Earth, his new album of Bush covers.
Bleckmann's band loosens the rhythmic feel of "Love and Anger," making it more suitable for jazz interpretation without sacrificing its surging momentum and bucolic sensibility. His limpid baritone soars amid the sumptuous rearrangement, as he conveys the song's themes of unspeakable hurt, disappointment and the thorny process of forgiveness and liberation.
Bleckmann articulates this jumble of mixed emotions with sonic and sentimental clarity, especially in the hopeful yearning of the song's questions: "Can you find it in your heart to let go of these feelings?" "What would we do without you?" Grasping and then expressing the meaning of Bush's words takes both a sharp mind and a soulful heart. Bleckmann brings both to the fore with idiosyncratic ingenuity.