1619 Broadway: Giving familiar tunes fresh lives

Only Kurt Elling could succeed with a musical tribute to a building. Of course, the building in question is the Brill Building, the home to songwriters from Sammy Cahn to Paul Simon, so he does have great material for “1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project.”
One of the most creative singers in music, Elling offers crafty versions of songs including “On Broadway,” “A House Is Not a Home,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “American Tune.” His versions of “Come Fly With Me” and “So Far Away” are perhaps the most telling of this effort. They are his and his alone, far removed from the signature recordings by Frank Sinatra and Carole King, respectively.

Elling explores harmonies as no other singer does, giving all of these familiar tunes fresh lives. He is accompanied by a group led by his long-time pianist, Laurence Hobgood, with visits by saxophonists Joel Frahm and Ernie Watts and by Christian McBride, who uses his voice instead of the bass for which he is noted.