This Week’s Playlist
Editors Pick, 4 star review from Jazzwise🇬🇧
In print October 2021 issue.
“Great week, team!”
Radio Promotion: Neal Sapper
Mixed Media Client Since 2020
EAN: 4260075862286 (CD)
composer: Ute Lemper
Release date: 26th May 2023
Publisher: BMG Rights Management GmbH
Life is a song and it wants to be sung. Ute Lemper, the New York-based German singer and dancer, is renowned for her interpretations of Brecht Weill songs; she slipped into the skin of Marlene Dietrich and has made a name for herself worldwide as a musical performer and specialist for the repertoire of the 1920s. The richer the versatile artist’s palette became, the more she became longingly aware of what else was slumbering inside of her, waiting to be shared with the world. More than anything else, the need to sing about her innermost self was becoming increasingly more urgent. “Time Traveler” is not the first album on which Ute Lemper sings her own material and yet, since the story of this collection of songs already began 23 years ago, it is a turning point in her self-perception. In many ways, the year 2000 was a new beginning for Ute Lemper, a year in which she freed herself from the cocoon of her historical repertoire and found herself in her songs. The album “Punishing Kiss” from that year still consisted of songs that other artists had specifically tailored to her. “I thought to myself, there’s no reason at all why I can’t sit down at the piano and write myself” she says, recapping that turning point. While working on “Punishing Kiss,” she met her future husband Todd Turkisher, who had his own studio in New York’s Chelsea district. There, Ute Lemper’s first self-composed songs were created and recorded on an analog tape machine. For various reasons, however, these songs were not released at the time. They disappeared into the basement, gathering dust for the time being. The album “Between Yesterday and Tomorrow”, with original compositions by Ute was eventually released in 2008. However, these were not the songs written eight years earlier. Subsequently, she set texts by Charles Bukowski, Pablo Neruda and Paulo Coelho to music for three very different albums and other projects followed.
By mere chance, the boxes of tapes that had disappeared two decades earlier reappeared in her in-laws’ basement in 2021. But the original tape machine no longer existed and the songs could not be played back. As luck would have it, a cassette with a backup copy turned up and, upon hearing these songs again, Ute and Todd embarked on their journey back through time. Thrilled, they arranged for the original tapes to be digitized. “We listened to the songs and agreed that it was worth trying to revive them,” the singer recounts today with euphoria, as if she had discovered this hidden treasure only yesterday. “However, this wasn’t possible with all of the songs, some of which were just too antiquated. But others still had a contemporary pulse that interested me. We did tweak some of these songs in terms of production but even then, it was clear to me that we couldn’t make an album from these old pieces alone. Then one morning I felt the impulse to write new songs again, there was a spark of intuition, additionally inspired by age. The first song that came was ‘Time Traveler,’ because, for me, going back and unfolding this 23-year-old crease in time really is time travel.”
Ute Lemper doesn’t don a mask here but delves into the panopticon of her own life with all its highs and lows, translating joys and pain, longings and their fulfillment into words and music. Through the songs, many encounters with herself at different points in her life became possible. “I’ve lived through a lot in the past 23 years, spinning incessantly around my own axis, but all of that has to be reflected upon from the perspective of the present.” With “Time Traveler” Ute Lemper accomplishes the unusual feat that, for listeners, the 23 years which lie between the individual songs aren’t obvious at all. The present in the past and the past in the present merge as if by osmosis. In the three old songs, Ute Lemper has partially changed the depth of focus lyrically and musically; on the other hand, the seven new songs fully engage with life experiences without corrupting them. She leaves it to the listener to identify the joints between the layers of time for themselves.
“As you get older,” she says Ute Lemper about the way her own two respective life and personality phases interpenetrate, “you constantly uncover new secrets, and these secrets can be so much better illuminated in lyrics and music. The Ute of old learns from the new Ute that less is always more, and that the quiet is always more fascinating than the loud. The lyrics must contain secrets which allow listeners to rediscover secrets of their own. I still carry the young Ute in me but have the opportunity now to allow her more room.
With her new album, Ute Lemper emancipates herself musically from all categories. Depending on socialization and personal preferences one can hear these songs as pop, rock, jazz, soul or chanson, all of these at once, or simply just as Ute Lemper. She is no longer ready to live up to any expectations, but rather draws inspiration from songs that she herself enjoys listening to. This includes references to artists and bands like Hiatus Kaiyote, John Legend, Joni Mitchell, Sarah McLachlan, Annie Lennox, Erykah Badu or Robert Glasper but without attempting to copy any of them.
All songs are one hundred percent Ute Lemper. In some pieces she takes risks in terms of production and sound, initially luring the listener onto a completely wrong path, such as in the title track; in others she conceals small surprising details in the production, putting the songs, herself and not least of all the auditory perception to the test over and over again.
“Time Traveler” is a very personal album, but its message extends far beyond Ute’s own life experience. As society narrows our perception down to a moment that seems to be ever shorter, we forget the importance of taking the past on board and learning from it. “Progress is gaining more and more speed, and we are not encouraged to look in the rearview mirror,” postulates Ute Lemper. “As soon as we embed our lives a little bit more in the past, we learn some interesting things. The more I involve myself with the young Ute, the more I can grasp why I do all of this in the first place.”
With “Time Traveler,” Ute Lemper has given a wonderful gift to herself. And yet, first and foremost, it is an album that functions like a signpost. In the unsparing self-honesty with which, in a most accessible way, Ute Lemper reflects on her life, it’s possible for most listeners to find themselves as well.
UTE LEMPER – Time Traveler
1 Time Traveler 04:06
2 In My Flame 04:40
3 Moving On 03:58
4 Magical Stone 04:36
5 At The Reservoir 04:53
6 Little Face – The Sequel 04:09
7 Man With No Face 03:45
8 Envie d’amour 03:23
9 Cry In The Dark 03:29
10 The Gift 03:46
All musc & lyrics Ute Lemper
Produced by Ute Lemper & Todd Turkisher
Original Analog Recording at Todd’s Studio, NYC summer of 2000, are engineered by Todd Turkisher and Ute Lemper
All new recordings 2021-2022 In our living room, NYC. Analog time travel tape transfers by Steve Rosenthal at The Magic Shop, Brooklyn, NY. Additional present time production/editing Alex Poeppel 2021-2022 and Ari Raskin 2022
Mixed by Kevin Killen, Ute Lemper, Alex Poeppel, Todd Turkisher 2022
Rendezvous with Marlene
Publicity: Theater Weekly, Broadway World 2, Broadway World, Time Square Chronicles, The Up Coming, London Theatre Reviews, Broadway.com, Playbill, Times Square Chronicles, Financial Times, Far Out Magazine, New Jersey Jazz Society, Jazz Square (Russian), Broadway World
Mixed Media Client Since 2020
Ute Lemper channels Dietrich on
Rendezvous with Marlene
It takes a kind of fearlessness to address the mythical talent of superstar Marlene Dietrich. Dietrich’s stardom is legendary; her story a picaresque of adventure, fantasy, imagination, and coveted reality. Yet, if anyone can begin to touch Dietrich’s transcendent nature, to tell her story, it would have to be Berlin-born, New York-based Ute Lemper.
Lemper, a multi-talented musical theater and cabaret star, has lit up stages—acting, singing, dancing, writing, even painting—since the early ’80s. She began with Chekhov and Weill, among others, making a name for herself as an outsized talent.
But it was as a songstress, particularly as an exponent of the music of the Weimar Republic, that Lemper made her most lasting impact. She brings immense theatricality to her music, along with irony, sexuality, satire, and humor. She received a tremendous amount of attention for her dramatic cabaret-style performances and was heralded as the “New Dietrich.” In 1988, after receiving a Moliére Award for her performance in “Cabaret” in Paris, Ute sent a note to Dietrich, essentially apologizing for all the comparisons. I explained to her that I was just starting my career and that the comparisons were inappropriate,” said Lemper. I thanked her for inspiring me to become a performer and mentioned how much I admired her many achievements on stage and screen.”
A month later, Dietrich, then in her late 80s, called Lemper. Dietrich was a recluse by that time and had not left her Paris home for many years. But she and Lemper connected and the discussion was incredibly rich and profound. She told me everything about her life–emotional and historical—and I was very overwhelmed by it all,” said Lemper. It took me thirty years to think about it and finally be ready to put it into a show.” The three-hour conversation the two had discussing Dietrich’s fascinating life, forms the foundation of Rendezvous with Marlene, a lavish, lovable homage to the great performer. It began as a performance and is now a spectacular recording of the same name.
Ute sings to us Marlene’s story, fabulous songs from all the chapters of her life, from the Berlin cabaret years to her Burt Bacharach collaborations, with whom Dietrich toured for 15 years. Lemper puts her own spin on the material, injects them with modern drama, melodrama, and unfiltered flourishes of Dietrich’s sensuality.
Ute Lemper Rendezvous with Marlene is “An unforgettable evening: stylish, graceful, heart-warming and powerful, this is an event not to be missed,” says Shane Morgan of St. George’s Bristol, UK.
Essentially, Rendezvous with Marlene is the sound of one enormous talent passing her story along to another. And while we don’t know what motivated Dietrich to transfer her life story to Lemper, she most certainly sensed they were kindred spirits. You don’t have to listen long to the many lush tracks on Rendezvous with Marlene to understand that the two possess a simpatico life, sharing a kind of distinct versatility, attitude, humor, and multi-faceted approach to art. One critic raved: “An extraordinary, unforgettable evening with a sublime artist at the height of her powers – it should on no account be missed!” (Musical Theatre Review)
“A superb tribute to one astonishing woman from another, fascinating, enlightening, intense, often moving, and always entertaining,” according to Northern Soul.
“What a gift it was to hear Marlene talk about her life,” says Lemper. “This recording is my personal tribute to her. She was sexy, tough, and funny and her comic timing was ever-present, even in her singing,” said Lemper. “She was a free spirit,” Lemper recalls. “She was politically and morally outspoken and courageous. She was ladylike and bossy. She had class but loved whiskey, dirty jokes, and a good smoke. I tell her story through my eyes and sing her songs with my voice. She is using my body and voice to speak.”
Successfully. Says a critic writing for Gay UK, “By a huge margin the finest act of sustained, emotional intensity and fearless self-revelation I’ve ever seen. Ute – like Bowie, Callas, and Garland before her – is in an unprecedented class of her own.”
Described as an “extraordinary, unforgettable evening with a sublime artist at the height of her powers – it should on no account be missed!” (Musical Theatre Review), Ute Lemper’s “Rendezvous With Marlene” channels Dietrich’s story of courage, glamour, and humanity. Ahead of her time, Dietrich was a legend as an actress, singer, fashion icon, and free spirit. In her first show entirely focused on honoring Marlene, based on the true story of a phone call they shared, Lemper interprets some of Dietrich’s most beautiful songs and recounts some captivating secrets of her life. Don’t miss this enthralling exploration of Marlene’s career and personal life.
Click here to log in and buy your ticket for this unique performance. Tickets are $25.00, and one ticket serves a whole family and friends watching together.
Here is the setlist for the performance:
Where Have All The Flowers Gone (Pete Seeger)
Just A Gigolo (Leonello Casucci)
One For My Baby (Harold Arlen / Johnny Mercer)
Life’s A Swindle (Mischa Spoliansky / Marcellus Schiffer)
They Call Me Naughty Lola (Friedrich Hollaender)
Boys In The Backroom (Frank Loesser / Friedrich Hollaender)
Lili Marleen (Norbert Schulze / Hans Leip)
Ruins Of Berlin (Friedrich Hollaender)
Black Market (Friedrich Hollaender)
When The World Was Young (Johnny Mercer / M. Philippe-Gérard)
Ne me quitte pas (Jacques Brel)
Laziest Gal In Town (Cole Porter)
The Answer My Friend Is Blowing In The Wind (Bob Dylan)
Que reste-t-il de nos amours / I Wish You Love (Charles Trenet)
Falling In Love Again (Friedrich Hollaender)
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Ute Lemper – Rendezvous with Marlene
The history of this album takes us back more than thirty years to 1988. It was then that a three-hour telephone conversation took place in Paris between two German women, two Actresses and singers, Marlene Dietrich and Ute Lemper. Some of our readers do not need to explain who they are, but for the rest, especially the young ones, we will have to tell them…
So, Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992). A sex symbol of her era, a great actress and singer. Her fame rose in the 20s, in the film “Blue angel”, which brought her unprecedented success not only at home, but also far beyond its borders. After moving to Hollywood, she quickly became a star there. The Nazis who came to power in Germany promised Marlene all imaginable benefits for her return. But Marlene Dietrich was sharply negative about Hitler and his brown pack. She defiantly renounced her German citizenship and accepted US citizenship. During the war, she often performed in front of allied soldiers in Europe. Someone pointed out that Dietrich was more often on the front line than Eisenhower. After the collapse of Nazism, she continued her brilliant career. In 1960, she arrived in her native Berlin, where she was obstructed, considered a traitor. After a while, Marlene settled in Paris. After an unfortunate fall from the stage in 1975, she could only walk with a stick – and did not want to be seen like this. Then she lived as a recluse in Paris, not communicating with anyone, her relationship with her daughter was very difficult, in the past there were stormy romances with world celebrities, in the past there was fame.
This is what Marlene called Ute Lemper (b.1963) in 1988. Starting with performances with a jazz-rock band, she turned into a musical and cabaret star by the age of 25-just like Dietrich once did. In 1988, in Paris, she was awarded the prestigious Moliere Prize for playing and singing in the musical “Cabaret”. That’s when she sent the card to Dietrich. A miracle happened: she suddenly agreed to talk to Ute on the phone. For three long hours, Marlene told her young companion many secrets of her personal and creative life. Ute was lucky: the stars came together and the great diva wanted to pour out her soul.
Many years later, in 2019, the already very famous Lemper put this conversation at the heart of her show Rendezvous with Marlene, where she tells the story of the life of Marlene Dietrich from the stage and sings songs from her repertoire. The audio album Rendezvous with Marlene is a kind of soundtrack of a very successful show, met with the most positive responses around the world. Like Dietrich, Lemper sings here in three languages-German, English and French, and sings with a very precise balance between Dietrich’s characteristic singing style and the danger of “playing too much” in imitation of her unique husky contralto. Here you can hear songs from the time of Dietrich’s success in Weimar Germany – the world-famous Lili Marlen, songs by her favorite composer Friedrich Holender, who, like her favorite Director von Sternberg, had to flee from the persecution of the Nazis, – Wenn Ich mir wunschen durfte, Ruins Of Berlin, sound jazz standards Mercer (One For My Baby, When The Workd Was Young) and porter (the Laziest Gal In Town) times of successful collaboration with Bert Bacharach, songs of great American folk singers Pete Seeger (Where Have All the Flowers Gone) and Bob Dylan (Blowing In the Wind), beautiful French songs, for example, Marie Marie Gilbert BECO. In short, this is a stunning excursion into the popular music of the twentieth century, which was loved and sung by the great Marlene Dietrich.
© 2020 Jazzhaus Records
20 tks / 74 mins
Link provided by Mixed Media
author Leonid AUSKERN
musical style crossover