Segerstrom Center for Performing Arts hit a home run in their outstanding jazz series with Elling Swings Sinatra. Set up like an upscale jazz club with low lighting, and round tables for four the Samueli Theater was the perfect venue for an evening with Elling and Sinatra.
Award winning Kurt Elling, at times using Sinatra's phrasing, and gestures, along with the charming slightly crooked smile, gave a performance that celebrated Sinatra without falling victim to imitation. "Elling Swings Sinatra" was exactly that, Kurt Elling giving his own personal voice and interpretation to legendary Sinatra classics, his rich baritone breathing new life into the Sinatra songbook.
While "Too Marvelous for Words" was pure Chairman of the Board, Elling put his own stamp on "Moonlight in Vermont" giving it a more bluesy feeling. "April in Paris" took it to another level with Elling showing his very hip scat singing skills while trading statements with renowned vibraphonist Roger Glenn on flute. On "Come Fly with Me" Elling departed from the original arrangement done for the Basie band, and showcased the creative talent of his longtime collaborator and supreme pianist, Laurence Hobgood with Hobgood's chart from the Elling "1619 Broadway" album.
With two more shows tonight there is still time to see this dynamic jazz singer, performing the unforgettable music of Sinatra.
Rating: * * * * *