Kurt Elling at the London Jazz Festival: Dark Secrets
On Wednesday…at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Kurt Elling blew the fluff off several generations of pop to reveal dark secrets and adult desires. His repertoire celebrates the song-writers who were based in New York's Brill building – he gave us a potted history mid-set – and his superbly controlled, wide-ranging tenor exudes an understated yet pleasingly louche confidence.
Elling hit the ground running with a syllable-stretched “Come Fly with Me”, lived every note of “On Broadway” and made “I'm Satisfied” a slacker's anthem. Highlights were “You Send Me” – the throwaway “honest you do” reverberated with ambiguity – a doo-wop “Lonely Avenue” and several high-octane solos from his terrific band.
Elling invited the first set's singer, Sheila Jordan, to join him for the encore. She's now 84 – “born on the same day as Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse” she told us – and once they had negotiated the rococo lyrics and sly ad-libbed asides of “Moody's Mood for Love” – Obama's victory got a mention – they settled for a slightly ragged, extremely warm-hearted, word-spieling jam.