Kurt Elling Celebrates 25 Years in Jazz with “Virtual Tour”

Vocalist Kurt Elling rocketed to jazz stardom with the 1995 release of his debut album, Close Your Eyes, on Blue Note Records. Twenty-five years later, Elling boasts a remarkable and accomplished career in jazz, and he celebrates it in October and November with a 25th Anniversary Virtual Concert Tour.

Ironically (though not unpredictably, given the worldwide pandemic), Elling’s “tour” will take place entirely in one venue: Chicago’s legendary Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, where the singer first established himself with a weekly residency in the 1990s. From that venerable stage, he will give five livestreamed performances, each with a specific theme. Elling will be joined by pianist/organist Stu Mindeman, bassist Clark Sommers, and drummer Dana Hall, with occasional guest appearances by guitarist John McLean.

Performances will take place on Fridays at 3 and 8 p.m. Central, from October 9 through 30, with another on November 13, via the Mandolin.com streaming service. Tickets are $15 for each performance, or $60 for the full series. Themes for the concerts are as follows:

October 9: “25th Anniversary Concert.” A retrospective of Elling’s career, emphasizing the material on Close Your Eyes, with new twists.

October 16: “Celebrating the Heroes” – A tribute to Elling’s heroes, musical and otherwise, from Jon Hendricks to Joe Zawinul to Rumi.

October 23: “K-Pop” – Covers of Elling’s favorite songs from throughout pop music history, featuring John McLean on guitar.

October 30: “Here’s Romance” – Love songs, from the Great American Songbook and beyond.

November 13: “The Big Blind” – A reprisal of Elling’s 2019 radio-style musical drama The Big Blind. Though the production included an all-star cast when it premiered at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Elling performs this rendition solo.

Purchase tickets at Mandolin.com.