Kurt Elling in 2017: Another very good year!
In 2017 Kurt Elling performed 102 shows in 69 cities in 18 countries on 4 continents!
He flew 145,000 miles, including four trips to Europe and one each to South Africa and China, and there were ground trips by train and other transport, too.
The red markers indicate Kurt Elling concerts,
and the blue markers are the Branford Marsalis Quartet with special guest Kurt Elling.
All 2017 gigs are listed under Touring Archive – 2017.
From January through July Kurt toured with the Branford Marsalis Quartet, performing 62 concerts of Upward Spiral, their Grammy-nominated 2016 recording.
Upward Spiral also won the 2017 German ECHO Jazz Prize for International Ensemble of the Year.
In February Kurt performed in Renée Fleming's Chicago Voices, celebrating the iconic, multi-genre vocal music traditions of Chicago, along with Lupe Fiasco, John Prine, Shemekia Copeland, Michelle Williams, Jessie Mueller, Matthew Polenzani, The Handsome Family, and The Voices of Trinity Mass Choir. He also taught a master class as part of the Chicago Voices weekend's public events.
In April Kurt performed in Rome with saxophonist Rosario Guiliani and the Saint Louis Big Band at the Saint Louis College of Music.
He was also invited to perform with more than 50 jazz stars in the International Jazz Day 2017 All-Star Global Concert in Havana, Cuba, which was live streamed worldwide on April 30. This was Kurt's second Jazz Day concert; his first was in 2016 at the White House, hosted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
In June the Kurt Elling Quintet performed with the Slovenská Filharmónia at the One Day Jazz Festival in Bratislava, Slovakia and then at the International Jazz Extravaganza in Durban, South Africa. They finished the month with four shows at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York. The first night was live streamed on the web.
In August Kurt shared the stage with Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Metropole Orkest, conducted by Jules Buckley, in an all-Gershwin program at Musikfest Bremen, Bremerhaven, Germany.
September began with the All-Star Benefit Concert for the Fred Taylor Scholarship Fund at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston. Kurt performed alongside Terri Lyne Carrington, Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci, Grace Kelly, Catherine Russell, Kat Edmonson, Jason Palmer, and Bo Winiker. Pat Metheny also made an appearance.
In mid-September pianist and composer Fred Hersch reprised Leaves of Grass, his 2005 jazz oratorio setting the poetry of Walt Whitman to music, with special guests vocalists Kurt Elling and Kate McGarry, in four performances in the Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York. The first night's concerts were also live streamed on the web. The late Jon Hendricks was introduced on stage at the end of the evening, to celebrate his 96th birthday that night.
Then Kurt and the band traveled to Beijing for a concert at Blue Note Beijing, his first visit to China, followed by four shows in Honolulu at Blue Note Hawaii on the way home.
October began with the Kurt Elling Quintet and special guests playing A Benefit Concert for Hurricane Relief at Birdland in New York. Proceeds went to the One America Appeal for victims of Hurricane Harvey in TX, Hurricane Irma in FL, and Hurricane María in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
The next day Kurt, his band, and special guests went into the studio to record his new album to be released in the spring of 2018.
In November Kurt was one of the performers in Fuerza Puerto Rico!, a jazz benefit for the victims of Hurricane María organized by San Juan native, saxophonist Miguel Zenón at The Jazz Gallery in New York. Proceeds went to the Puerto Rico Recovery Fund.
In mid-November Kurt performed with Igor Butman and the Moscow Jazz Orchestra in the Jazz Across Borders Conference Gala Concert in St. Petersburg, Russia. He also presented a vocal jazz workshop.
After Thanksgiving the Kurt Elling Quintet did a series of concerts in the Chicago, Nashville, and Atlanta featuring The Beautiful Day: Kurt Elling Sings Christmas to celebrate its release on vinyl for this year's holiday season.
Then in December the Kurt Elling Quintet was joined on tour in Austin and Denton, Texas; Denver; and San Francisco by special guests and a cappella singers extraordinaire The Swingles with a special holiday program.
Kurt capped off December with three performances of Spirit of Light, a new composition by Tommy Smith, saxophonist, composer, and director of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. They were joined by the SNJO and Cappella Nova in three iconic cathedrals in Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh, Scotland in this special program of sacred and secular music for the season.
This fall's vinyl release of The Beautiful Day: Kurt Elling Sings Christmas includes an exclusive bonus track, “Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring,” with Kurt's new lyric performed with The Swingles. He was also featured on two other albums released in June 2017. Goldenhair: Music by Brian Byrne and Poetry by James Joyce (Node Records), features Kurt Elling, Glenn Close, Julian Lennon, Judith Hill, and other vocalists. Kurt performs on four tracks, including the title tune. He also performs on The Passion of Charlie Parker (Impulse!/Verve).
It was very good year indeed. And there's much more to come in 2018, including Kurt's forthcoming studio recording (OKeh Records/Sony Music Masterworks)!