Kurt's Press Archive - 2014
With a bit of retro showmanship, stylish stage patter, a Sinatra tonal quality and a superb backing ensemble that combined members of his own band with local talent, singer Kurt Elling gave the Lied Center for Performing Arts the feel of an intimate Vegas lounge act for about 900 adoring  ...read more…
"I think of jazz as being homage through innovation. Don't quote that as a definition, but it comes pretty close. You don't show respect to Frank Sinatra and his great example by trying to sound exactly like him. You show it by sounding exactly like you, and  ...read more…
The EFG London Jazz Festival may have celebrated its 21st birthday last year, but as if to prove it has truly come of age – and lost none of its spark – the opening weekend of the 22nd edition positively swaggered and swung with joyful jazz noises everywhere across the  ...read more…
Is it just me, or do Guy Barker's orchestral charts for Jazz Voice get more refined, more nuanced, more richly detailed every year? Effectively becoming earworm central last night, the Barbican resounded with tintinnabulating glockenspiels, delicately plucked harp strings, punchy horn charts and luxuriant strings, as Barker sprinkled  ...read more…
This gala showcase works like a vocal beauty parade. It's a big-budget affair on a very big stage with a very big screen that kicks off the London Jazz Festival every year, always master-minded by the indefatigable Guy Barker. It's Barker who scores, arranges and conducts, no mean  ...read more…
A parade of wonderful jazz singers, backed by a luxuriantly big orchestra, singing two dozen or so of the greatest popular songs ever written. It's a sure-fire recipe for bliss, repeated each year for the opening night of the EFG London Jazz Festival at the Barbican Hall. One could  ...read more…
Before Kurt Elling became a successful jazz vocalist, he was a mover and a shaker -- literally. In the early 1990s, in his hometown of Chicago, he worked as a mover and a bartender to make ends meet. "I did all kinds of stuff to keep it going," he said  ...read more…
Kurt Elling revealed details of his next album due in early 2015 called Passion World. Speaking to Nigel Williams at Jazz FM he described it as, "a collection of compositions I've collected from around the world from all these tours."   Elling has already given a preview to his fans  ...read more…
Kurt Elling has repeatedly proved his mettle as a vocalist, accumulating so many Downbeat awards and Grammy nominations that it seems superfluous to once again critique any of his performances. One can only say, "Ditto, he's done it again." But, because he keeps developing his scope, it's always  ...read more…
[Our resident music reviewer Donald sacrificed a night with his favorite TV show to see jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, and found it well worth the trade. —the artblog editors] Typically, Sunday nights for me are known exclusively as The Good Wife night. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  ...read more…
Kurt Elling, the bold, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter who explores infinite variations on musical themes, presents his hip, edgy expressiveness as he performs at 8 pm on October 1 at Infinity Music Hall and Bistro at 32 Front Street. Not only is Elling a master of scat and vocalese, a perennial winner of the  ...read more…
Grammy Award winning jazz musician Kurt Elling will perform at Hartford's Infinity Music Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 1. The 46-year-old vocalist is a Chicago, Ill., native and is now living in New York with his family. To date, Elling has released 10 albums under two different record labels: Blue Note and  ...read more…
When Kurt was in Sofia, Bulgaria to perform with the Bulgarian National Radio Big Band on May 28th, he also sat down with Jazz FM's afternoon host, Tanya Ivanova, for a short interview. "I do feel like I'm trying at least to help the jazz history move into  ...read more…
To cap off a stellar jazz season celebrating the 90th birthdays of Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington, the organizers at Koerner Hall managed to bring together two top male vocalists who excel at the top of their game. The vocalists are fellow Canadian superstar Denzal Sinclaire and beloved American superstar  ...read more…
Grammy-winning Chicago-born singer, Kurt Elling, is regarded by many critics as the finest male jazz vocalist working today and on the evidence of what can only be described as a captivating performance at Cheltenham's Town Hall venue it's not difficult to understand why. As a musician, Elling's  ...read more…
The organisers of Cheltenham Jazz Festival proved that they don't lie. No, this wasn't through some bizarre test involving electrodes and quivering needles. After they introduced American vocalist Kurt Elling as, "one of today's greatest Jazz singers..." Elling provided the proof himself. A giant-name addition to this  ...read more…
For Cheltenham he had contributed to Friday Night Is Music Night and had taken part in the late night jam session at Hotel du Vin, but this was a chance to spend an hour with Kurt and his band. For his last project Elling had chosen to concentrate on one  ...read more…
It's 1955, every town has it own ballroom, big-band and vocalists and swing's the thing. Well no it isn't, actually. Unless you're the producer of BBC Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night. In which case you gather musical forces en masse: the Guy Barker Big Band,  ...read more…
I have an admission: I don't really like jazz singers. There are exceptions – some, like Billie Holliday, are so emotional, so raw, that I find it hard to listen to them – but others – most, I reckon – are so anodyne that they reduce songs to a  ...read more…
Of all the exotic locales he could be in, has been in, will be in again quite soon, this one seems a little less so. In fact, take a look at Kurt Elling's website, and not only are the jazz vocalist's travels well-documented in the "Touring" section —  ...read more…
Of all the illustrious guests SNJO has welcomed to Scotland, Kurt Elling seems to be the one who has made himself most at home. This might be because the Chicagoan singer spent a year in Edinburgh as a student and used to catch the then regular Friday jazz concerts, including  ...read more…
Just as one American, Rene Marie, realised the deep gospel-blues potential in singing Loch Lomond, so another one has confirmed The Loch Tay Boat Song's latent jazz ballad status. Because although he gave his sources - the Corries - as singers of traditional songs should, when Kurt Elling sang  ...read more…
You know, bookish, thoughtful people are not at all introverted and unapproachable. Just get into a conversation with a librarian about their favourite stories from childhood and you will see what I mean. In a series of weekend concerts, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO) and guest vocalist Kurt Elling  ...read more…
This musical project was inspired by the 'Syntopicon', a cross referencing index for 'Great Books of the Western World' published by Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1952. SNJO director Tommy Smith bought the entire 54 volumes in 1990, and in Kurt Elling he has found the ideal collaborator to explore some of the key themes  ...read more…
Jazz singers are not in short supply these days, but genuinely great ones are always a rarity to treasure. Kurt Elling is undoubtedly in that category, and the latest phase of his ongoing collaboration with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra will live long in the memory. In Synopticon, the singer  ...read more…
The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra has attracted many compliments in the past few years. After working with the orchestra as its featured soloist in 2012, American trumpeter Randy Brecker volunteered that SNJO "is among the very best jazz orchestras on the planet" and that his dates with the orchestra gave him  ...read more…
You can thank the Encyclopaedia Britannica for the latest collaboration between the SNJO and Kurt Elling Saxophonist Tommy Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra he directs have never been loath to engage with big ideas as well as big musical works: witness their recordings of Torah, Smith's suite  ...read more…
Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, who sang at the Dakota on Thursday night, is a masterful reinventor of songs. He seems to have no trepidation about taking on standards you've heard a zillion times that have been (almost) indelibly identified with iconic singers who came before him. There were two  ...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." ~ JazzTimes Kurt Elling, arguably the greatest jazz singer of his generation, has appeared in the Twin Cities on a number of  ...read more…
From the mid 1930s to the early '70s, the Brill Building at 1619 Broadway in midtown Manhattan was a one-stop shop for some of the most creative minds in American popular music, from singers and songwriters to publishers and promoters. Songwriting teams such as Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Burt Bacharach  ...read more…
Somewhere between a duck and sausage gumbo and a delicious cinnamon roll from Mikey's Donut King in Opelousas Louisiana, I spent 15 delightful minutes talking to Kurt Elling. Listening to Elling sing Herbie Hancock's "Come Running to Me" from The Gate can be life changing. I don't know  ...read more…
Kurt Elling, Kate McGarry and others weigh in on their favorites. It is widely accepted that Bing Crosby set the standard for future generations of jazz singers. But Bing had help. His meteoric rise in the 1930s was in large part facilitated by the concurrent popularization of microphones. As journalist  ...read more…