Jazz is an infinitely malleable art form, and Andrea Fultz may be the first vocalist to stretch the music in such a convincingly Teutonic direction. A singer who combines a thespian’s emotional resourcefulness with a jazz vocalist’s rhythmic flexibility, Fultz can infuse fresh drama to American Songbook standards, croon lilting bossa novas, and keep a dance floor gyrating with insinuating electronica grooves. But the Munich-born Fultz defines herself with The German Projekt, a tough, unsentimental new album that plunges jazz into deliciously dangerous waters.
More than a singular cultural synthesis, The German Projekt is a riveting musical journey that brings Fultz’s savvy jazz sensibility to the sardonic Weimar repertoire of Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, Friedrich Hollaender, and Hanns Eisler. While jazz musicians have long embraced a handful of Weill songs (“Mack the Knife,” “My Ship,” “September Song”), Fultz delivers most of the music in German, setting the sturdy songspiel melodies to beautifully calibrated, jazz-infused arrangements. “It is a big thing for me to represent German culture in America,” Fultz says. “I really think this music is brilliant. Brecht and Weill and Hollaender are so timeless.”