Individually, they are five phenomenal and distinctive vocalists: Theo Bleckmann, the effusive German-American meistersinger known for his brilliant collaborations with Meredith Monk, Steve Coleman, and Laurie Anderson; Peter Eldridge, an eclectic vocalist, composer, and member of the New York Voices; Lauren Kinhan, known for her charismatic voice, genre bending originals, and her dedicated years as a member of the New York Voices; Kate McGarry, a vocal polymath at home with the folk tradition and the Big Apple bandstand; Luciana Souza, the Brazilian whose repertoire ranges from bossa novas and Elizabeth Bishop to Steely Dan.
Together, they are MOSS, A vocal supergroup that intertwines jazz, classical, pop, folk, electronica, world music, and poetry into an arresting and unique sonic species of art. On their debut recording, they are supported by electric guitarist Ben Monder, bassist Tim Lefebvre; drummer/percussionist Ben Wittman, and acoustic guitarist Keith Ganz (with Eldridge on piano and keyboards).
“I was on a train from New Jersey a few years back, and I bumped into Peter Eldridge. We had talked about working together …” recalls Luciana Souza. “[W]e fantasized about a project where we could join other like-minded singers to write, study, rehearse and blend our different styles of singing, creating a collective sound … [H]ere we had a group of intelligent, open-minded, and unique singers.” Subsequent meetings in Souza’s Upper West Side apartment led to their first gig in 2005 at Manhattan’s Joe’s Pub. They’ve also performed in greater Los Angeles and at the Merkin Concert Hall in New York.
Bleckmann moved to New York City in 1989, after meeting jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan. His recordings include Looking Glass River (in duo w/Kirk Nurock, Traumton, 1995), No Boat (in duo w/Ben Monder, Songlines, 1997), Origami (Songlines, 2001), Static Still (in duo w/John Hollenbeck, GPE, 2002), Anteroom (Traumton, 2005), Las Vegas Rhapsody (Winter & Winter, 2006), At Night (in duo w/Ben Monder, Songlines, 2007) and Berlin: Songs of Love and War (Winter & Winter, 2007).
Besides six studio recordings with the New York Voices, Eldridge has released three solo projects; Fool No More (Rosebud Records, 2001), Stranger In Town (Rosebud Records, 2001) and Decorum (Rueben’s Tunes, 2005). He has worked or recorded with artists such as Fred Hersch, David Byrne, Medredith Monk and Bobby McFerrin, and was recently invited to join Kurt Elling, Mark Murphy and Jon Hendricks in Four Brothers. His compositions have been recorded by Nancy Wilson, Paquito D’Rivera and Jane Monheit.
Lauren Kinhan joined New York Voices in the early 90s. Her solo CD, Hardly Blinking (Orchard, 1999) was co-produced by Phil Ramone, Frank Filipetti, and Rob Mounsey. She’s also recorded on Ornette Coleman’s Sound Museum: Three Women (Verve, 1996), and she collaborated with Japanese guitarist Jiro Yoshida on Guitar and The Moon (King Records, 2000).
After graduating from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Kate McGarry moved to California, where she worked with pianist Hank Jones, and sang in numerous commercials and films, before relocating to New York in 1999. She sang on Fred Hersch’s Walt Whitman project, Leaves of Grass (Palmetto, 2005), and has performed with bandleader/composer Maria Schneider. Her solo CDs include Easy to Love (Vital, 1992), Show Me (Palmetto, 2003), Mercy Streets (Palmetto, 2005), and The Target (Palmetto, 2007).
Luciana Souza has worked with many artists including Danilo Perez, Hermeto Pascoal and Kenny Wheeler, and she’s featured on Herbie Hancock’s Grammy winning River: The Joni Letters (Verve, 2007). Her CDs include An Answer to Your Silence (NYC Records, 1999), The Poems of Elizabeth Bishop and Other Songs (Sunnyside, 2000), Brazilian Duos (Sunnyside, 2002), North and South (Sunnyside, 2003), Neruda (Sunnyside, 2004), Duos II (Sunnyside, 2005), and The New Bossa Nova (Verve, 2007).