Kurt Elling and Laurence Hobgood…in their own words

Chicago Jazz Magazine cover.jpg

Kurt and Laurence sat down recently to talk with Chicago Jazz Magazine about winning the Grammy, their forthcoming album The Gate, and their various special projects.

Of special interest is their discussion of the great musicians on The Gate — John Patitucci, Terreon Gully, Bob Mintzer, and John McLean — and the experience of working with the legendary Don Was, who produced it. Their conversation also touches on jazz singing and jazz singers, scatting, what makes a pop tune worth reworking into a jazz arrangement, building on the deep history of jazz music, and jazz musicians playing outside of their comfort zone where true creativity happens.

Laurence comments about The Gate:

I think it is possible for master musicians who have really evolved through their own internal process and through the process they have been through with all the groups they have played with before…to arrive in a place where they can play with great intensity and great mindfulness without having it seem like they are trying….

It is this place you can get to, where you are comfortable enough in your own skin that you can relax and relinquish the need to control, and you end up becoming responsive and reactive without being passive. It’s like being in a conversation and knowing just exactly the right thing to say. And saying no more and no less than what needs to be said…. I love the fact that our producer, Don Was, sat both at the sessions, and then met us in L.A. to finish the record and to mix it. The first thing he said was, “The thing I love about this record is nobody is trying.”

The sound is so full. I feel like what we’ve done on this record is very elegant, very patient and meaningful.

Their full interview is here.