Kurt's Press Archive - 2013
December 30th, 2013
Since 1995 Kurt Elling has been the gold standard in male jazz vocalists, with one Grammy win and 10 nominations (literally every CD he has put out has been nominated for best jazz vocalist), he sets the tone for guys singing jazz. But he not just another cat singing standards, he's  ...read more…
When singer Kurt Elling returns to Chicago next week, he will be dealing with two profound changes in his art and life: Pianist Laurence Hobgood, who has been Elling's primary accompanist and arranger since they joined forces two decades ago in Chicago, will not be sharing the stage with  ...read more…
Kurt Elling sat at the bar of a favored bistro near his Upper West Side apartment, sipping a beer, cool and relaxed in an untucked shirt, shorts and sandals. He hadn't shaved. Labor Day weekend was over, fall season looming, so, between bites of a crab salad, Elling related  ...read more…
Kurt Elling strikes an uncanny balance, enjoying widespread mainstream acceptance while retaining a sense of risk in the pursuit of his own idiosyncratic artistic impulse. The highly decorated jazz singer shook things up in his own life a few years ago, surprising fans by moving to New York after decades  ...read more…
As with The Gate, Kurt Elling's previous release, the material presented on 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project is largely a departure from American Songbook and jazz standards and a movement toward music with Boomer appeal. The song selections on 1619 Broadway are bolder, however, in that they place Elling squarely  ...read more…
Leaning on the piano, listening to his band, glancing up into the full house at Kilbourn Hall, Kurt Elling was the picture of ease. Day 9, final day of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, and that's the picture you want to hang onto. "And it's all happening in  ...read more…
Kurt Elling is a prime number, divisible only by himself. With a deep, rich baritone to match the depth and richness of his creative life, clear enunciation and inventive phrasing, the vocalist and lyricist/poet is without peer today. Elling did not come to New Jersey City University on April 29  ...read more…
June 12th, 2013
If you're going to make your bones in jazz and the blues, what better place to do it than in Chicago? That's what Kurt Elling did, performing at the Green Mill Jazz Club inside the city limits – outside the limits of convention. As a "yoot," Elling was  ...read more…
June 6th, 2013
Though you might not guess it from his soul-patched jazzman persona, vocalist Kurt Elling grew up singing in church choirs. He even spent a year in divinity school studying to be a professor of religion. But when Elling, 45, talks about why he makes the kind of music he does, you  ...read more…
Kurt Elling didn't disappoint dedicated fans at the National Concert Hall in Dublin 21 May 2013. Hitting the ground running, he swung and scatted, schmoozed and soared his three octave range effortlessly. The RTÉ concert orchestra led by Brian Byrne was relaxed yet disciplined, Byrne appearing to enjoy the experience.  ...read more…
The genesis of Kurt Elling's "1619 Broadway – The Brill Building Project," his Grammy-nominated 2012 CD, isn't complicated. "I've been living in New York for a while, and I tend to pass that building on my way to my manager's office," the critically acclaimed singer, once a mainstay  ...read more…
The genesis of Kurt Elling's 1619 Broadway — The Brill Building Project, his Grammy-nominated 2012 CD, isn't complicated. "I've been living in New York for a while, and I tend to pass that building on my way to my manager's office," the 45-year-old singer, once a mainstay of  ...read more…
Trying to define jazz singing is asking for trouble. Go one way and you box yourself into an essentialist view riddled with exceptions; go another and you wander into pop territory. Still, to paraphrase a famous dictum, you know great jazz singing when you hear it. Grammy-winning singer Kurt Elling  ...read more…
Grammy winner Kurt Elling adds his own lyrics to classic jazz instrumentals. He also reinvents songs from a variety of musical genres spanning generations. In addition, Elling sings words written purely as poetry. But with every adventurous step comes that rich, expressive baritone. It's a vocal instrument as technically  ...read more…
April 29 is the last time I was able to attend a NJCU concert and I am going to miss the trips to Jersey City. California here I come! The featured guest was the 11-time Grammy nominated vocalist Kurt Elling, who provided the second set. The 18-piece university jazz ensemble opened  ...read more…
Kurt Elling plays the National Concert Hall, in Dublin, this evening, after a gruelling tour of Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands. Last week, the jazz singer was battling a chest infection. "I was built to sing, physiologically, but the fatigue hasn't helped the challenge of fighting this virus," he  ...read more…
May 14th, 2013
Anyone familiar with top-drawer jazz will have savoured the rich 4-octave coffee-and-cigar voice of Kurt Elling. Those who haven't – yet – are missing out on an extraordinary sound: one of the most dazzling, educational – and entertaining – noises we're likely ever to hear. Control, risk, startling  ...read more…
Yes, jazz singer Kurt Elling is easy on the eye. But forget about all that for now, ladies... The American baritone with a four-octave range is one of the most innovative jazz singers to come along in years. It's hard to picture him as a young boy singing motets  ...read more…
OK, so you've given your copies of Rod's It Had To Be You and Robbie's Swing When You're Winning a few listens (released many, many years ago, the latter is still top of the iTunes jazz albums chart in a gazillion countries). You've memorised the  ...read more…
Kurt Elling is in residence at Ronnie Scott's, though his reputation as one of jazz's all-time great vocalists means that only theft or bribery could now secure a ticket for anyone who has just woken up to it. A singer of astonishing technique and meticulous craft, he has  ...read more…
Kurt Elling is unmistakably a jazz singer; his subtle shifts of accent and time transform the most mundane lyrics into narratives steeped in the human condition. His current repertoire, based on his recent CD 1619 Broadway , celebrates the songwriters and music pluggers of Manhattan's Brill Building, whose output included, he  ...read more…
Within 10 seconds of Kurt Elling's arrival on Ronnie Scott's stage, negligently yet somehow expensively elegant, one knew the only thing to do was to yield. Seduction is all about mastery, after all, and is there any more masterful singer on the planet right now? At one point he  ...read more…
Kurt Elling just doesn't make a song his own. He dissects it, modifies it, examines it under a microscope then reassembles it in a way that reassures you of the song's origins but suggests, oh so subtly, that this is something new altogether. The scatting baritone artfully commanded  ...read more…
Kurt Elling's Wellington performance last year was stunning; a treat to finally see him perform and to see him embody a range of songs live. That's what he does when he sings. He gets inside the songs and builds a new home, gives them a new shape, but  ...read more…
Why do Cole Porter's songs still get under our skin? For starters, his lyrics show a degree of poetry, wit and insight unattained before he began penning hits in the late 1920s and rarely has been matched in American song since (though Stephen Sondheim clearly stands as a worthy  ...read more…
Kurt Elling left the University of Chicago Divinity School just short of a graduate degree, but he's a master at preaching with his music. As an accomplished singer, Elling enjoys not only improvising musically but also lyrically. A devotee of vocalese, Elling writes lyrics for improvised music in a  ...read more…
In March, Jamie Cullum interviewed Kurt Elling for BBC Radio. Cullum began by introducing Kurt as "someone who wanted to make me sing jazz in the first place. I can't say it any simpler than that. His voice first got hold of me when I heard him sing twenty  ...read more…
March 28th, 2013
As he's proven over the years with area concerts from the Van Dyck to Tanglewood, Kurt Elling is one helluva jazz singer. But if you needed a reminder, he was in concert at The Egg in Albany on Sunday, and it may very well have been his best Local 518  ...read more…
Kurt Elling, whom many consider the best male jazz singer in the world, blazed a peculiar path to his career. Elling, who will perform April 6 at Miller Center for the Arts on the campus of Reading Area Community College as part of the Berks Jazz Fest, didn't grow up  ...read more…
There's no question that Kurt Elling is at the very top of the heap in the world of male jazz vocalists, and if you need proof, just take a look at the numbers. He's won the annual Downbeat Critics' Poll in each of the past 13 years, and each  ...read more…
One of today's elite and most creative jazz vocalists, Kurt Elling has amassed an astounding run of 10 Grammy-nominated albums that began with his debut. The Chicago native, known for his dynamic baritone and poetic lyricism, has shown his adventurousness when selecting covers, from standards such as "I Only Have  ...read more…
Kurt Elling first topped the Downbeat Magazine jazz critics' poll as male vocalist of the year in 2000. Since then, he's won it a dozen times. He's also topped the Downbeat Readers Poll seven times and picked up 10 Grammy nominations — winning once, in 2009, for best vocal jazz album  ...read more…
On his most recent recording, "1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project," vocalist Kurt Elling rethinks some of the songs that have become standards for the baby boom generation – including Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "So Far Away," and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil's "On Broadway." He takes the  ...read more…
For the past five years, Chicago-born, Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling has made Manhattan his home. And, after years of living there, he decided to record an album that's something of a love letter to his new homestead. Thankfully, there was a building he would often walk by that  ...read more…
Kurt Elling, the elite male vocalist in jazz, awed an audience of about 400 on Saturday at the Gem Theater. The stellar exhibition of his groundbreaking talent demonstrated that Elling continues to dramatically expand the artistic possibilities of jazz vocals. Beginning with his 1995 debut album, Elling and longtime collaborator and pianist  ...read more…
Some purist types might not even consider Kurt Elling's newest release, 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project, a jazz record. Elling — perhaps the most honored stylist among contemporary improvising vocalists — deliberately chose a musical path mostly far away from the usual formula of theatrical/film pieces, established standards  ...read more…
Having lived in Chicago for most of his career, Kurt Elling moved to New York City four years ago. On his latest release, 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project (Concord Jazz), the veteran vocalist covers 11 tunes, all of them penned by composers and lyricists associated with the famous address in midtown  ...read more…
January 10th, 2013
One thing you can definitely say about vocalist Kurt Elling: he keeps trying something new, which keeps his audience base both guessing and loyal for his devotion to the art form. Last year's release The Gate raised a few eyebrows for its slick production, while his tribute the classic  ...read more…
It's a new year and with it comes a slew of awards shows. Now is it just me or are they doling out more and more trophies and plaques these days? This month alone brings four major awards, mostly for film and television. Of course, the Grammy Awards is  ...read more…
The dapper, soul-patched, off-handed Kurt Elling has said in performance, "I was brought up on 4/4 time." That's hardly an unusual influence for a singer, but as he's put his gritty baritone to work over the last couple decades, he's taken irrepressible liberties with that commonplace signature. So  ...read more…
On December 5, 2012 the nominations for the 55th annual Grammy nominations were announced. Kurt Elling garnered his tenth Grammy nomination in the Best Jazz Vocal category for '1619 Broadway - The Brill Building Project'. Every one of his albums has been Grammy nominated; ten albums and twelve nominations in all. The Grammy  ...read more…
One of the enduring archetypes in Jazz has been the singer. Billy Ecsktine, Frank Sinatra and Johnny Hartman all fit that template of the romantic, handsome crooner with silky, keening timbres that can melt candles and cool champagne bottles all at once. In the 21st century, the man who best  ...read more…