On her intriguing and amazing new CD "The German Projekt," which features jazz-imbued arrangements of classic songs by Brecht-Weill and Friedrich Hollaender and which is coming out this May, singer Andrea Fultz sounds as if she'd been born to interpret this rich, complex body of music.
But in fact the album concept came to fruition a mere three or four years ago, while she was living and studying in San Francisco and performing with musical colleagues who were interested in exploring Kurt Weill's songs with her. "The material was really completely new to me," says the Munich-born Fultz, 34, who has worked with a variety of bands ranging from American Songbook to electronica to bossa nova. "I knew the melodies, but not all the words. The dark Weill stuff was very exciting."
Joined by violinist Dina Maccabee, accordionist Rob Reich, percussionist Micha Patri, bassist Eugene Warren, and pianist Adam Shulman, whose credits include work with Stefon Harris, Paula West, and Bobby Hutcherson, Fultz began to delve into the songs and arrangements that evolved into The German Projekt. She and her band, augmented by a three-man horn section, will appear at a CD release event at Yoshi's in Oakland on Monday, May 18.
"The music has to support the lyrics and follow the stories of the songs," says Rob Reich, in speaking of the challenges of arranging The German Projekt. "And these are often heavy, dramatic stories, full of changes in tempo and harmony, and full of intense emotions. We were fortunate to be working with some very talented jazz musicians. We wanted them to have some room for interpretation and improvisation, so it was important to strike a balance between staying true to the original musical conception and allowing the songs to breathe and grow."
Andrea Fultz: The German Projekt--German Songs from the Twenties & Thirties
Video performance of Andrea Fultz singing "Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe eingestellt": www.vimeo.com/827956