Kurt's Press Archive - 2017
The Branford Marsalis Quartet will join forces with vocalist Kurt Elling for the next installment of JAZZ ROOTS, the concert series of the Adrianne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The event, titled “Living Legends: Branford Marsalis Quartet with special guest Kurt Elling,” will  ...read more…
The Branford Marsalis Quartet and singer Kurt Elling combined in the first major concert of the 2017 Portland, Oregon PDX Jazz Festival. A packed audience in the capacious Newmark Theater heard a Thursday might performance that drew upon their recent album Upward Spiral. The principals listened intently to one another and  ...read more…
February 20th, 2017
It all started at a bar during a jazz competition two years ago. That’s when Branford Marsalis – a member of jazz’s royal family, and former leader of Jay Leno’s live band – and Kurt Elling, acclaimed jazz vocalist, floated the idea of making  ...read more…
I was lucky to attend one of the best concerts I've ever seen last Saturday night at UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance (CAP) at Royce Hall, which has always been a great place to hear jazz, or for that matter, any kind of music. With a  ...read more…
What would happen if some of the greatest voices to come out of Chicago joined forces on a single stage? You'd hear more than just jazz and rap, gospel and blues, classical and folk. You'd encounter the sound of the city itself, for Chicago has nurtured and shaped  ...read more…
As an ambitious young vocalist coming up on the Chicago scene in the early 1990s, Kurt Elling cultivated his sound by his sitting in regularly with some of the toughest tenors in a city known for producing take-no-prisoner saxophonists. Masters like Von Freeman, Eddie Johnson and Ed Petersen encouraged him  ...read more…
Getting back to the basics of melody is no easy job. Ask Branford Marsalis. "My definition of melody is a sequence of notes so strong that, if every other aspect of the music fell apart, people would still want to hear it," says the famed saxophonist, who, years ago, turned  ...read more…
Kurt Elling is a walking jazz machine who's utterly in command of his many talents, and who dispenses them with complete ease on the stage. This award-winning, much-lauded singer has recently been collaborating with the Branford Marsalis Quartet, fusing his style to their hard bop approach to music-making. The  ...read more…
Although Branford Marsalis famously spent 1985 to 1987 with Sting and played with hundreds of singers during his four-year run as musical director of The Tonight Show, only two of the 29 CDs and DVDs that he lists in the jazz section of his website discography feature vocalists. One is the 1992 album I  ...read more…
Perhaps my most played new album last year was "Upward Spiral," a brilliant collaboration by two formidable mid-career veterans, Branford Marsalis and Kurt Elling, solidly in the tradition of such classic team ups as Cannonball Adderley and Nancy Wilson, and even more so, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. Their central  ...read more…
Jazz moves to the form of the universe. Tingling and spiraling behind the clear and automatic, it's an expression conjoining the human to the infinite: a chance to dig deeper into a sort of refined communication, an arena where the invisible serves as the visual: a fluxing declaration. In  ...read more…