Interview: Kurt Elling moves jazz history into the future

When Kurt was in Sofia, Bulgaria to perform with the Bulgarian National Radio Big Band on May 28th, he also sat down with Jazz FM's afternoon host, Tanya Ivanova, for a short interview.
“I do feel like I'm trying at least to help the jazz history move into the future,” says Kurt Elling in a Jazz FM interview. The amazing vocalist is a Grammy Award winner and all his ten albums have been unprecedentedly honoured with nominations.

Definitely one of the most masterful jazz singers, Kurt Elling inspires with his scatting and improvisations. However, one of the most distinctive features of his art is his vocalese work.

“Vocalese work is a collection of things. One is to really hear what the original artist actually played. And then it is to make the rhymes fall automatically in the places where the rhythms and the rhymes of the soloist fell. Another is to have the content be faithful to something that speaks to the original intention of the instrumentalist. And to sing it with that same kind of intention and of phrasing,” explains Kurt Elling.

Being a perfectionist, he overcomes difficulties with even more dedication: “If you feel you are not doing it well enough, don't spend time worrying about it – just practice better, practice harder, practice more,” is his advice.

Kurt Elling answers a question about his intuitive connection with words: “It is just living what is behind it – and that is everything that has come before it.”

You can listen to Tanya Ivanova's full four-minute interview with Kurt here.

Ivanova adds, “Kurt Elling was in Bulgaria to perform with the Bulgarian National Radio Big Band, conducted by Antoni Donchev. Known for publishing on his site and Facebook page the view from his hotel window, this is how our capital city of Sofia greeted him.”

Sofia, Bulgaria