Jazz singing doesn’t come much better than this

Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman4 stars

Jazz singing doesn’t come much better than this.

Elling’s taste for angular Beat-era lyrics has sometimes stretched his audience’s patience, but on this live set he reins in the self-indulgences on an unfailingly romantic celebration of the classic 1960s album by John Coltrane and that silky baritone Johnny Hartman. Laurence Hobgood’s arrangements make superb use of a string quartet (not a trace of syrup in sight) and there’s a poised guest contribution from the saxophonist Ernie Watts. Elling adds a standard or two without missing a beat.

The tribute album is a tired, overused device; it now gets a fresh lease of life from an artist at the top of his form.