Kurt's Press Archive - 2007
October 14th, 2007
He's an all-time jazz great and has friends in very high places – but can Kurt Elling make us fall in love with vocal improvisation and its eccentricities? Kurt Elling is giving musical directions to the Klüvers Big Band in Aarhus, Denmark. "If we've been doing our job right,  ...read more…
Kurt Elling had a right to enjoy a moment of satisfaction. As he introduced his band to a packed house at Chicago's Park West, he got to the Hawk String Quartet, which was positioned over his left shoulder toward the back of the stage. "It looks like I've  ...read more…
With pretty much the whole profession of jazz singing suffering today, it is great an anomaly like Kurt Elling can ply his trade and not only make a career out of it, but excel at it and possibly become the catalyst for bringing the art back. Always a vocalist who  ...read more…
JAZZ SINGING IS a woman's world. Whether it's the pop jazz (or jazzy pop) of artists such as Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Jane Monheit and Lizz Wright, who've had some crossover success, or more purely jazz singers such as Dianne Reeves and Patricia Barber, it's usually a woman's voice you'll  ...read more…
Pssst: Kurt Elling is the best male vocalist working in jazz these days. Pass it on. That shouldn't be a secret. The man has been making solid, adventurous albums since 1995. But not enough people seem to know about his gifts. Of course, my commercial radio-loving friends have no clue: Kurt  ...read more…
To say that vocalist Kurt Elling has tremendous range only reveals part of the picture. Listening to Live at MCG with Kurt Elling (MCG Jazz, 2004), which he recorded with the Bob Mintzer Big Band, Elling's seemingly effortless move from low to high and back, whether singing lyrics or scatting, is  ...read more…
There was a time when a little bit of Kurt Elling went a long way. The insanely talented singer always seemed to balance precariously on the gossamer between genius and schmaltz, but Elling always had a knack for pulling the reins tight just when listeners were ready to cringe. Most  ...read more…
More than any other kind of music, jazz, to be great or even good, requires a fierce individualism, whether the players are solo or in groups. Rules are acknowledged, and then they must be broken, trounced. Jazz titans---Ellington, Armstrong, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Jarrett, Alyer, among many others---regularly, and with great  ...read more…
If there is a royal bloodline of male jazz singers, I'd suggest it progresses from Satchmo to Mel Torme to Jon Hendricks to Mark Murphy to Kurt Elling. After Elling (who, still a few months shy of his 40th birthday, may long reign), a cyclonic puree of all the princes  ...read more…
April 12th, 2007
The references range far and wide on Kurt Elling's Concord debut. The Chicago-based singer-- framed by nuanced charts from Laurence Hobgood, his longtime pianist/arranger, and guests Rob Mounsey and Christian McBride -- puts his idiosyncratic sensibility to work on disparate repertoire. Songbook and contemporary standards intermingle with songs set  ...read more…
When Kurt Elling issued Man In The Air on the Blue Note label in 2003, it showcased his expansive, dream weaving stage persona though the album was recorded in the studio. Night Moves arrives at a time when Elling has left Blue note for the hopefully greener pastures of the Concord  ...read more…
March 29th, 2007
Everyone deserves a fresh start. What's more, everyone gets a fresh start, every day: It's called "sunrise.” That sounds like a bad joke, but it's true. Every day is a clean slate, if we just commit ourselves to that concept. This theme of renewal and redemption drives Nightmoves, Kurt Elling's  ...read more…
March 10th, 2007
Jazz singer Kurt Elling has taken the brazen step of composing lyrics to fit Dexter Gordon's solo on his 1976 version of "Body and Soul." The lyric wisely mentions that the experiment could be a train wreck or an insult to the memory of the legendary tenor saxophonist -- a smart  ...read more…
In a town known for its long history of great blues, Chicago's Kurt Elling stands as a beacon of light for jazz. VOA's Doug Levine brings us up-to-date with this "Windy City" native who was recently named Male Vocalist of the Year in Downbeat magazine's Critics and Readers polls. Kurt  ...read more…
4 1/2 stars out of five It's an awful lot to live up to. These days, Chicago's Kurt Elling is routinely touted as the best male jazz singer living. The man who's netted a fistful of Grammy nods and Downbeat awards touched down in Victoria last night for a 90-minute concert. Did  ...read more…
The initial concept of the Chicago-based vocalist's new disc Nightmoves—the first to be made in three years—was to provide the soundtrack to a feature film. That project, however, ultimately fell through, but Elling and his band took to the studio anyway, emerging with an album that is a  ...read more…
January 19th, 2007
Kurt Elling is on top of the jazz world now and probably the music's most popular and acclaimed male singer, though at 39 he is still a young buck by jazz standards. Let's count the ways people love him. In 2006, the baritone won Down Beat magazine's critics poll and its readers'  ...read more…