“Dedicated to You” Garners Two GRAMMY Nominations!

On December 2 when the 52nd annual GRAMMY nominations were announced in Los Angeles, renowned jazz vocalist Kurt Elling was honored with his eighth GRAMMY nomination for “Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman” in the Best Jazz Vocal category. Laurence Hobgood’s arrangement of the title tune also received its own GRAMMY nomination. That’s Laurence’s second for arranging.
Every one of Kurt’s albums has been GRAMMY nominated. Eight albums, ten nominations in all — that’s excellence!

“Dedicated to You” was recorded live at the Allen Room at Lincoln Center and has received critical praise. The Washington Post wrote, “With his soaring vocal flights, his edgy lyrics and sense of being on a musical mission, he has come to embody the creative spirit in jazz.” The Chicago Tribune declared, “His buoyantly creative lines in “Dedicated to You” and arialike phrases in “Lush Life” represent some of the best ballad singing being performed today.”

Just before Thanksgiving, Kurt earned perhaps one of the highest honors of his career; headlining the first State Dinner at the White House. As President and Mrs. Obama welcomed the prime minister of India last Tuesday, Elling performed “Nature Boy” with an orchestra directed by Marvin Hamlisch, whose own lists of awards include an Emmy, an Oscar, and a Tony. Elling has a special relationship with the Obamas, having first met the President when he performed at a fundraiser for then-state senator Obama. Then in 2005, Elling he and his wife purchased the Obama’s Hyde Park condominium. A well-known jazz enthusiast, President Obama counts himself as one of Kurt Elling’s biggest fans.

Although Elling has been nominated for every album in his canon, he has yet to garner a win. There is no doubt that he is the most revered male vocalists in music, not just in jazz. Named “the jazz stand-out male vocalist of our time” by the New York Times and “perhaps the most distinctive singer on the American scene” by the Sunday Times (UK), Elling has never hesitated to take on a musical challenge.

From the creation of multi-disciplinary new works for Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre to his Four Brothers collaboration with Jon Hendricks, Mark Murphy and Kevin Mahogany, from his epic vocalese versions of John Coltrane’s “Resolution” or Dexter Gordon’s “Body and Soul” to his creation and direction of a commissioned two-hour extravaganza for the City of Chicago’s millennial celebrations, Elling has applied his unsurpassed creativity to one project after another.

Elling’s unmatched languid baritone is only equaled by his embrace of true artistic exploration, making him one of America’s most unheralded national treasures. Indeed, those traits along with his cool Sinatra swagger and style has earned Elling top spot placements in the DownBeat Critics’ and Jazz Times Readers’ polls year after year. Although mainstream audiences have inexplicably eluded him, it is likely that 2010 will be Kurt Elling’s year.

The GRAMMY Awards ceremony will be held January 31st at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and broadcast on CBS.

As always, bountiful and heartfelt congratulations, Kurt and Laurence!