At the top of his game

It’s been an exciting, memorable summer for Kurt Elling!
The Jazz Journalists Association named him Male Singer of the Year for the fifth time.

He topped the Down Beat Critics Poll for Male Vocalist of the Year for the tenth straight year.

The Kurt Elling Quartet opened for the legendary Dave Brubeck in at the Tri-City Jazz Festival in Cleveland.

On June 23, Concord released his eighth album (his second for Concord), Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings Coltrane and Hartman. It’s garnered rave reviews and it’s been high on the JazzWeek chart for twelve weeks, taking the #1 spot in its second week out.

“Lush Life” from Dedicated to You was featured as NPR’s Song of the Day in July.

The US and Canadian tours for Dedicated to You with Kurt, Laurence and the band, Ernie Watts on tenor, and the string quartet ETHEL started with a great run at Birdland in New York. Then they played across Canada and down the West Coast, finishing with shows at Catalina’s Los Angeles.

Kurt performed again with Bill Charlap at Jazz in July at New York’s 92nd Street Y, this year doing Sondheim and Styne.

Kurt was also the featured guest on John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey’s Radio Deluxe, taped live at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival over Labor Day weekend. That show will be broadcast nationally the weekend of September 26 and then be available as a podcast on the Radio Deluxe website.

~ ~ ~

Looking ahead to Kurt’s creative, jam-packed fall:

Kurt performs at the 52nd Monterey Jazz Festival September 18-19 with the Monterey Jazz Festival All-Stars: Kenny Barron Trio, Regina Carter, and Russell Malone. These greats will be touring together next February and April. For details, see: Monterey Jazz on Tour and the KE Touring page.

After some other dates in the States, Kurt and the band team up again with Ernie Watts and head for Europe for another Dedicated to You tour. This one begins in Ireland and takes them on a whirlwind trip to ten other countries from October 24 through November 16. Whew!

In between, Kurt, Laurence, the band, and special guests are going into the studio to record their new album to be released in 2010. Expect surprises — something completely different than Dedicated To You. More of their usually unusual fare, this time with things by Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett, Earth Wind and Fire, and Stevie Wonder. A guitar thing with a backbeat — but jazz guitar and a jazz backbeat.

Most of all, as Kurt reminds us, it’s time to be joyful again!