Refugee Trio ‎– Refugee Trio

Winter & Winter ‎– 910149-2
CD, Album, Stereo


1 Refuge Of The Roads [Joni Mitchell]
2 To What Shall I Compare This Life [Priest Monsei, Theo Bleckmann]
3 Pinwheel [Gary Versace]
4 Rural Bliss [John Hollenbeck]
5 Edges [Gary Versace]
6 Bright Moon [Masahide, John Hollenbeck]
7 Peace [Ornette Coleman]
8 Misterioso [Thelonious Monk]
9 Child's Play [Gary Versace]
10 Yang Peiyi [John Hollenbeck]
11 Hymn [Gary Versace]
12 Happiness [Theo Bleckmann]
13 All Our Yesterdays [Allan Holdsworth]



Digital Recording at brooklin Recording Studio,New York, Februray 2008
Recording Engineer:Andrew Taub
Stefan F. Winter: Executive Producer, Producer
Joni Mitchell's connection with rock and jazz had had its heyday during her 1983 tour. Her ensemble interwove jazz, pop, rock and folk elements and created a fascinating mixture. The dvd-video of that tour is named "Refuge of the Roads". In 2002 Theo Bleckmann, John Hollenbeck and Gary Versace formed a cooperative trio to play at the 2002 Wall-to-Wall Joni Mitchell Marathon Concert at Symphony Space in NYC. The Joni Mitchell song "Refuge Of The Roads" inspired the three musicians to name their group "refuge trio".
Since the debut concert Theo, Gary and John explore and develop special sounds concepts for this trio featuring the human voice and electronic processing, electric keyboards and various acoustic instruments like piano, accordion and a wide range of percussion instruments including crotales, vibraphone and glockenspiel. The music of the "refuge trio" course into a unique, multifarious, and rich stream of melodies, sounds and rhythms. Regardless if Theo, John and Gary perform their own compositions, Ornette Coleman's "Peace", Thelonious Monk's "Misterioso" or Allan Holdsworth's "All Our Yesterdays", the "refuge trio" creates a unique listening experience. Theo Bleckmann's warm and clear voice floats over the multifaceted keyboard sounds of John Versace and the rhythms of drummer Gary Hollenbeck. The art of these three musicians merge into each other seamlessly. Each composition of this album brings new arrangements and combinations of sounds and instrumentation, the music is in a everlasting flow. Theo, Gary and John merge into one unit not only because of their deep musical understanding but also of their common interest in the Asian culture. On the one side the repertoire of the "refuge trio" has its focus in songs with special lyrics like "To What Shall I Compare This Life" written by Priest Monsei or "Bright Moon" written by the Japanese poet and samurai Mizuta Masahide in the 17th century. On the other side the group develops wonderful rhythmical structures like in "Pinwheel". Each band member plays also one solo piece. Theo Bleckmann opens the album with Joni Mitchell's "Refuge Of The Roads", Gary Varsace performs his accordion solo composition "Edges", and John Hollenbeck plays Yang Peiyi. Yang Peiyi is the little Chinese girl who sang on the televised part of the Olympics but because she was not "cute" enough they substituted another girl who had the right look to mouth the words. This is a dedication to that beautiful little singer, Yang Peiyi. "refuge trio" unites three great artists who create an exquisite sound concept with well-grounded arrangements, boldly ambitious lyrics and sophisticated sounds and rhythms.

Genre -bending, -skipping and -skirting vocalist and composer, Theo Bleckmann has been a steady force in the music scene in New York for over 15 years, forging his own sound in jazz and contemporary music today incorporating jazz, ambient and electronic music as well as performance art. He has performed worldwide on some of the great stages including Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, the Sydney Opera House, L.A.'s Disney Hall, The Whitney Museum and the new Library in Alexandria, Egypt with artists like Laurie Anderson, Anthony Braxton, Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas, John Hollenbeck, Sheila Jordan, Ben Monder, Meredith Monk, Michael Tilson Thomas, Bang On A Can All-stars and John Zorn. The New Yorker called him a "local cult favorite", Downbeat "a "mad" genius", The New York Times "excellent" and according to OUT Magazine, Bleckmann is "a singer who has only recently fallen to earth". Recently, Bleckmann was interviewed by Terry Gross for NPR's Fresh Air. A Winter&Winter recording artist Bleckmann's releases include "Las Vegas Rhapsody" (with Fumio Yasuda), "Berlin" (with Fumio Yasuda) and "Twelve Songs by Charles Ives" (with Kneebody). His voice can be also heard on the cabaret-opera "Der Kastanienball – The fall of Lucrecia Borgia" (all releases available through Winter&Winter).

John Hollenbeck's versatility as a percussionist and composer is revealed in a body of work that challenges countless boundaries. Performances with Fred Hersh, Tony Malaby and Bob Brookmeyer have showcased Hollenbeck's melodic and sensitive jazz drumming. John's unique approach to big band work is evident as the leader of his Grammy-Nominated Large Ensemble and as a member of Bob Brookmeyer's New Art Orchestra. John's performance career stretches far beyond jazz. He has performed a variety of traditional musics from around the world, including klezmer performances with David Krakauer's Klezmer Madness and Frank London (of the Klezmatics), projects in Colombia with Antonio Arnedo, in Argentina with Fernando Tarres and with Astor Piazzolla's pianist, Pablo Ziegler, at Carnegie Hall.

Since basing himself in New York City in June of 2002, jazz organist, pianist, and accordionist Gary Versace has quickly become one of the busiest and most versatile musicians on the scene, often featured in bands led by musicians such as John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Maria Schneider, Matt Wilson, Lee Konitz, Eliot Zigmund, Scott Wendholt, Joe Magnarelli, Danny Gottlieb, Seamus Blake, John Hollenbeck, Andy LaVerne, Adam Nussbaum, Brad Shepik, Ingrid Jensen, Tim Ries and many others. Versace was voted a "rising star" on the Hammond organ in the last three Downbeat critics polls, and was the subject of a feature article in the July 2004 issue of Keyboard magazine. Versace has been a featured soloist on several critically acclaimed recordings of recent years: accordionist on Maria Schneider's Grammy-winning recordings "Concert in the Garden" and "Sky Blue" and as the pianist on John Hollenbeck's Grammy-nominated large ensemble recording, "A Blessing." As a pianist, Versace performed in a two-piano recital with Marian McPartland, and in April of 1999 appeared on her acclaimed National Public Radio program, "Piano Jazz." McPartland has called him "...endlessly inventive... (Versace) really has an extraordinary talent."

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 025091019427