Flirting With Twilight

Blue Note Records | 2001

Elling’s fifth recording, Flirting With Twilight presented a collection of timeless songs set against spare, yet gorgeous, horn arrangements—and featured an all-star rhythm section of collaborator Hobgood on piano, bassist Marc Johnson (Bill Evans, Steps Ahead) and drummer Peter Erskine (Weather Report, Steely Dan). DownBeat exclaimed, “Nothing prepared me for Elling’s accomplishment on ‘Flirting With Twilight,’ a cohesive, highly personalized exploration of 12 demanding love songs … which he addresses with the legato grace of a master ballroom dancer.” JazzTimes added, “With ‘Flirting With Twilight’ …Kurt Elling continues his triumphant reign as the thinking man’s vocalist.” Flirting With Twilight garnered two Grammy nominations, including one for Laurence Hobgood’s arranging.

Track Listing

  • Music by Glenn Miller & Mitchell Parish
    Solo by Charlie Haden
    Vocalese lyric by Kurt Elling based on Charlie Haden’s improvised melody from the 1991 Charlie Haden/Quartet West recording Haunted Heart

    Understand the Night.
    When she flashes her sparkling eyes at dusk,
    she flirts with Twilight.
    When the noise of day dies away,
    the Night and Twilight stay and stay,
    making quiet love up high over the town.
    And the gentle Twilight gives his light,
    making a queen of Night.

    If I could, I would write a sonnet of the night as a rememberance of your eyes.

    And, if you’d promise not to tell,
    I could whisper the words in the dark, like a lover.
    We could count the stars – the shooting stars –
    and talk of lovers through the ages who had lived out of their dreams.
    Such will and courage they needed to live in a dream;
    to burn, with every breath so serene –
    as if they had been the first to find love at all –
    like Night and Twilight.
    (They were the first of lovers ever.)
    Could we be like them – hold on to one another until dawn comes?
    Then, we’ll fly off and dream until Night and Twilight kiss again.

    My love – my one and only love –
    let me take you out under the moonlight and show how the Twilight loves the Night;
    why he lives for an hour of loving through lifetimes of longing
    and sings his moonlight serenade.

  • Detour Ahead
  • You Don't Know What Love Is
  • Music by Curtis Lundy
    Lyric by Kurt Elling

    When winter is on again
    fragrance ends
    and the withered leaves
    drift down from the dying trees
    as they find release.
    But I’ll remember it:
    the sweet perfume of
    orange blossoms in summer time.

    And when we are far apart
    and my heart
    feels a winter chill
    I’ve got to lay down and cry.
    But I know, by and by,
    that I’ll remember it:
    the sweet perfume of
    orange blossoms in summer time.

  • Not While I'm Around
  • Easy Living
  • Lil' Darlin'
  • I Get Along Without You Very Well
  • Blame It On My Youth
  • I'm Through With Love
  • Say It
  • Music by Fred Simon
    Lyric by Kurt Elling

    In Time we met – one winter night – and the moon shone with a mystic light.
    It seemed the world was holding breath – on her way to death

    So your adagio – played sweet and low – could grow into a symphony.
    Every note played to me sounded clear and fine – in splendid time.

    In Time you slept – and every breath – every stillness and each sigh was mine.
    I heard the sound of our two hearts – dancing in the dark
    Lighter than air – the perfect pair – but it was there I knew that
    If the world must pass – so, too, love’s gentle flame.
    So I’ll sing your name – in splendid time
    While you are mine.

  • Je Tire Ma Révérence


Kurt Elling: Vocals
Clay Jenkins: Trumpet
Jeff Clayton: Alto Saxophone
Bob Sheppard: Tenor & Soprano Saxophones
Laurence Hobgood: Piano
Marc Johnson: bass
Peter Erskine: Drums