The opportunity to record "This Time It's Love" came at a good time for me, emotionally. Jennifer and I were in an especially fresh moment of our groove together. Naturally, that led me to write material that reflected the high we were feeling. When Blue Note came asking me to do something more on the romantic side... well, it seemed like a natural opportunity to make everybody even happier.…read more

I think "Freddie's Yen . . ." was already in the band's active repertoire along with "Effendi". I vaguely remember hurrying to finish the lyric to "She's Funny That Way" in time for recording. I remember hearing most of "Where I Belong" altogether in my head while walking in the park, then running home to sing it into the recorder before I forgot it.

As for standards, I had a "Poinciana-like" groove in mind for "My Foolish Heart" and I asked Laurence to help me out with "floaty" arrangement of "A Time For Love". Laurence helped me make other intelligent standard-oriented decisions as well. He brought the Trane Ballad ("Too Young To Go Steady") to the table. He also understood and knew how to translate exactly the experience I wanted on "The Best Things Happen…". I never could have pulled off this or any other record to the same level of quality without Laurence's sympathetic and excellent production leadership. He has been a godsend throughout our time together.

We needed quite a few guest artists to help us fill out the sound on this project. I was lucky in this regard as well since the Chicago scene was particularly robust at that time. Johnny Frigo dignified an otherwise loopy "Smoochy" with his swinging fiddle solo. And what can you say about Eddie Johnson? His sound is the apotheosis of romance. Listening back, I wish I had asked Johnny and Eddie to play on more than one cut apiece.

What else?

I remember getting an all-too-quick last-minute over-the-phone tutorial in Portugese just before I went in to cut Dorival Caymmi's delightful "Rosa Morena". A friend-of-a-friend knew somebody whose sister was going out to a party that very night in New York with a native speaker. As if the connection weren't tenuous enough, by the time I reached my prospective tutor, she was already a few mojotos into the party. I don't know what arrogance or other stupidity convinced me that it would be enough to fool even Laurence's dog Duke, but ten minutes later I went into the booth to lay it down. I know not the reason grace intervened (I guess grace, by definition, needs no reason ? but that's another discussion), but whenever we've visited Brazil they have been very happy with my pronunciation. I even checked it out years later with Luciana Souza. She was very sweet about it. Go figure.

One last thing Laurence reminded me of the other day: The recording you hear of "Minuano" that opens "Man In The Air" was actually made during the sessions for "This Time It's Love". We were really excited about the take and were hoping it would open "…Love". But when we sent it to the label they thought it didn't really fit the character of the rest of the record. They excised it from the playlist. It was a drag for us at the time. But now I can hear what they meant. Bruce and Tom had good ears. "Minuano" was too futurist for this side. Thankfully, when the rest of our repertoire grew to meet the piece and we really needed it, it was still waiting for us.

Kurt Elling
Laurence Hobgood
Rob Amster
Michael Raynor
Drums & Percussion
Dave Onderdonk
Paul Wertico
Drums (6 & 11)
Brad Wheeler
Soprano Saxophone (6 & 11)
Eddie Johnson
Tenor Saxophone (2)
Johnny Frigo
Violin (3)
1My Foolish Heart  
2Too Young To Go Steady  
3I Feel So Smoochie  
4Freddie's Yen For Jen lyrics  
5My Love, Effendi  
6Where I Belong lyrics   chart
7The Very Thought Of You  
8The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing  
9Rosa Morena  
10She's Funny That Way lyrics  
11A Time For Love  
12Every Time We Say Goodbye  
Freddie's Yen For Jen

Music/Solo by Freddie Hubbard
Vocalese lyric by Kurt Elling based on Freddie Hubbard's improvised melody on "Delphia" from the 1970 recording Red Clay

Vs. 1
Love is wild in her. I confuse her love with the sea.
She is a rare and emerald fantasy told to me
and to me it seems that she lives in a mystery.

But her kisses! I dig her kisses.
While washing the dishes or feeding the fishes.
It's her kisses. Her k-k-k-k-k-k-kisses.
It's her kisses. Kisses that'll make you holler loudly
that you're glad enough to be a man.

Vs. 2
And in the evening - later - after dark
she quietly reveals to me all her miracles
Flying all up around me everywhere,
just like a fountain springing up around my eyes - a love!
I'm in a shower of a lovely one.
She makes the sun rise and set for me.

Oh, gotta' make her stay
because she's got a wiggle that'll make a clock stop.
I dig her even when we're apart.
Digging on my baby's really getting me high
& making me sigh & helping me fly
back to the woman who could tease old Frankenstein's suture-boy to living.

Moxie is as moxie does & she is moxie with the kind of moxie love she's giving.
And I know she'll never ever need forgiving
with kisses that will make you say you're glad enough to be a man.

Vs. 3
And she giggles when she talks.
And she's happy if we go to the races & party or not.
And she squeezes all the living daylights out of me.
And if I ever should sever the tether that keeps us together
forever where never a tear or a sorrow could weather
the amorist passion that flashes from in her eyes
- I'd be a dunce -
if i should ever try to walk or try to stray into any other woman's arms.

Because I dig her kisses -
the kind that I like because they're warm & tasty
and they're good and chewy and I like 'em.
And you would dig them too, if you could ever get
a kiss from my sweet miss.
But we will be kissing and kissing & so you'll never ever
get a taste of heaven - that I know & guarantee that you will never see.

A bucket of loving is what she brings to me. She is my sweetie.
with kissing - loving - hugging that'l make you glad just to be a man.

Vs. 4, repeat Vs. 1

Where I Belong chart

Lyric by Kurt Elling

I hear the woman like a song / dancing down a long corridor
Reminding me I belong where I am

I see the singing in the rain/ the rhythm at my windowpane
Reminding me I belong where I am

There is a light in the silence of loving things
And when I look in my baby's hopeful eyes
It's like the sound just before ever morning horizon
Light comes to life

It's like a mem'ry of loving sound / turning me upside down
Keeping my two feet firmly planted on the ground
Reminding me I belong where I am.

She's Funny That Way

Music and original lyric by N. Moret & R. A. Whiting
Vocalese lyric by Kurt Elling based on Lester Young's improvised melody from the 1946 recording The Aladdin Sessions

Once she dressed in tweeds and lace, owned a Rolls-Royce car.
Now she seems quite out of place, like a fallen star.
While I worry, plan and scheme over what to do
I can't help feeling it's a dream: She's just too good to be true.

New Lyric:
Whenever I've loved - it seems now so long ago, back in the past -
it always seemed like love was a morning star, fading fast;
drowned out be noon time in daylight's trivial sky.
Love was a mirage that you could hold with your eye
but as you came upon it it would dry up.

Wondering, finally, whether true love would come at all,
Watching each affair pass without a lasting word except 'goodby', taking the fall.
Counting sorrows like raindrops falling from above.
Wanting, somehow, to find a love

to share with me a shelter against the storms of living -
someone who was giving
kisses from her joy and not here fear.

I have seen before how sometimes people speak of love and think of pain.
The very thought strained
all their insides out so you could see fear was like a nail holding them to their past,
keeping them distant from their futures, living in sadness,
robbing every day of what could be - knowing it was madness,
I would leave them hungering for what they'd take, but couldn't give at all.

It's rare in life you came as close to losing all your skin.
But now I've fallen in love and an angel's fallen in there with me (in love).
She checked her wing in at the door.
Now, raindrops are diamonds falling out of Jennifer's pockets
and every kiss is July 4 rockets.
What was I thinking of?
Angels never fall in love
with men like me.

But still, every morning I awake to find my angel's still asleep -
right there in my arms - and life is complete.
When she wakes, she smiles and whispers that she's crazy living over me.
What am I to do but to thank the other angels above?

She's stuck with me.
I'll never let her go now.
With Jennifer I dig love
and she can dig it, too.
She's funny that way.