Passion World

Concord Records | 2015

Once again, Kurt Elling has charted new territory in his most “worldly” album to date. He cast his net far and wide, from Brazil to Ireland, Germany to France, Scotland to Cuba to Iceland in a recording all about “passions” – the forces that shake our souls. As one of the busiest touring jazz artists, Elling has encountered the varied musical expressions of love, romance, and heartbreak around the world; he has observed how the same depth of feeling is shaped differently by each culture through which it is filtered. The result is an album vibrant with diversity and variety, and at the same time a singular celebration of what makes us all human. In terms of its conceptual scope, breadth of influences, and inspired musical collaborations, Passion World is the most ambitious project yet from the preeminent male vocalist in jazz.

Track Listing

  • Music by John Clayton
    Lyric by Kurt Elling

    I always knew I’d fall for the girl next door.
    To stay at home with love would be my great reward.
    My sorrow came when she required more than the simple life.

    She wanted fashion and fame and money and speed.
    And I just wanted to love and to need her.

    So I guess it’s the road for me and my dream.
    The search for a new loving home will be my only theme.

  • Music by Pat Metheny
    Lyric by Kurt Elling

    The road opens up tonight / now that I am free
    Colors flood my eyes / and I can see

    Home is just one scene / in a giant play
    In a book / only one page

    The songs I already know / lovely as they are
    Should grow / into something more.

    There’s a world / of / love / and / music / after the door

  • Traditional, Composed by Annie C. MacLeod
    Lyric by Sir Harold Boulton

    When I’ve done my work of day / And I row my boat away
    Down the waters o’ Loch Tay / As the evening light is fading

    And I look upon Ben Lawers / Where the after-glory glows
    And I think on two bright eyes / And the merry mouth below

    She’s my beauteous nighean ruadh* / She’s my joy and sorrow too
    And although she is untrue / Well, I cannot live without her

    For my heart’s a boat in tow / And I’d give the world to know
    Why she means to let me go / As I sing horee horo

    Nighean ruadh*, your lovely hair / Has more glamour I declare
    Than all the tresses rare / ‘tween Killin and Aberfeldy

    Be they lint white, brown or gold / Be they blacker than the sloe
    They are worth no more to me / Than the melting flake of snow

    Her eyes are like the gleam / O’ the sunlight on the stream
    And the songs the fairies sing / Seem like songs she sings at milking

    But my heart is full of woe / For last night she bade me go
    And the tears begin to flow / As I sing horee, horo

    (* “Nighean ruadh” is Scottish Gaelic for “red-haired girl”.)

  • Music and Lyric by Félix Reina Altuna

    Si tú supieras / mi sufrimiento
    Si te contara / la inmensa amargura

    Que llevo tan dentro / la triste historia
    Que noche tras noche / de dolor y pena

    Llena mi alma / surge en mi memoria
    como una condena / Si tú supieras

    Te importaría / Si te dijera
    Que en mí ya no queda / ni luz / ni alegría

    Que tu recuerdo / es el daño más fuerte
    Que me hago yo mismo / por seguir soñando

    Con que tú regreses / arrepentida

    If you knew my suffering . . .

    If I were to tell you of the immense bitterness I hold inside me;
    The sad story which haunts and invades my memory night after night

    And fills my soul with pain and sorrow . . .

    If you knew . . .
    You would have to care.

    If you knew that there was no light, no joy left in me . . .
    That the memory of you is a great pain I inflict upon myself
    In the hope that you will return

    You would return to me . . . And repent.

  • Music and Lyric by Édith Giovanna Gassion and Louis Guglielmi
    Additional Lyric by Kurt Elling

    Quand tu me prends dans tes bras
    Tu me parles tout bas,
    Je vois la vie en rose.

    Tu me dis des mots d’amour,
    Des mots de tous les jours,
    Et ça me fait quelque chose.

    Tu es entrée dans mon cœur
    Une part de bonheur
    Dont je connais la cause.

    C’est toi pour moi, moi pour toi dans la vie,
    Tu me l’as dit, l’as juré pour la vie.

    Et dès que je t’aperçois
    Alors je sens en moi
    Mon cœur qui bat

    She’s a wonder to me / and
    when she comes over to me / moving lightly with the band

    I feel a need come on / I need to become her pawn
    And though I lead our turn around the dance floor

    She is an entreaty to me / mesmerizing and enticing me to see
    my partner as the queen of all my being

    I can’t resist / she’s a magnet that draws me / that thrills me and awes me
    Everything I hold dear is dancing right here beside me

    She’s like a wish I made that somehow comes true every morning
    And brightens up my way

    And there’s a shade of love in things that she’ll say
    The bloom is on the roses every day for my love and so for me

    The dance is like a dream / swaying and waving under golden stars
    The lights that sparkle in her eyes are emeralds and shiny diamonds

    Sparking up the night / A dance of dreaming never felt so right

    Life In A Rosy Hue

    When you take me in your arms
    You whisper to me
    I see life in a rosy hue
    You tell me words of love
    Everyday words
    It touches me

    You came into my heart
    A part of happiness grew
    and I know why

    It’s you for me, and me for you in this life
    We are sworn to each other for life

    And as soon as I see this truth,
    Then I feel within me
    the beating of my heart

    When I take her in my arms / She speaks softly to me

    And the world takes on a rosy hue
    She tells me love words / in everyday words that make me shiver
    She came into my heart / like a piece of happiness / Whose cause I know

    She’s mine and I’m hers for all of life
    She told me so / She swore it

    And since I first saw her
    I can feel my heart beating inside me

  • Music by Arturo Sandoval
    Lyric by Kurt Elling and Phil Galdston

    Just ninety miles / over the sea
    Another life / is calling to me
    Another world / I lost to fire and to ashes
    The sky may grow light / but the smoke cloud never passes

    Mi madre died / longing for home
    But you can’t fly when you’re tied to a stone
    Mi padre died / and he lives now with Jesus
    Su corazón in a million pieces

    I cry for them / and for all my family
    The friendships of my youth / and for all my country

    If I could / I’d make a boat out of my heart
    And sail to my home / Bonita Cuba / in the dark

    I’d go insane / but I live in music
    I play through the pain / and pour songs on my bruises

    If I could / I’d make a boat out of my heart
    And sail to my home / Bonita Cuba / in the dark

  • Where the Streets Have No Name
  • Music by Richard Galliano
    Lyric by Kurt Elling

    Tonight / tonight the moon is clean
    There’s nothing in between / the light that throws a sheen
    On everything we think we see / under the stars
    And neon of the bars / convincing us we are in love

    But any moment now / a cloud or two will frown above us
    For love is a fleeting thing / a lying and a cheating thing

    Most times it seems the road to love is a tangle
    Always an angle keeps me from finding love / in a maze of covering
    Love is just misleading me / a mistake / defeating me

    To me it feels like love is willful and confusing
    Always abusing / lovers like me who keep the flame
    Praying to meet another / who keeps the same
    Holding a heart unclaimed / more than another game

    Still I’ll go on searching / weaving and lurching
    Hoping one day / to see love clear

  • Music and Lyric by Dorival Caymmi

    Você já foi à Bahia, nêga?

    Então vá!
    Quem vai ao “Bonfim”, minha nêga,
    Nunca mais quer voltar.
    Muita sorte teve,
    Muita sorte tem,
    Muita sorte terá
    Você já foi à Bahia, nêga?
    Então vá!

    Lá tem vatapá
    Então vá!
    Lá tem caruru,
    Então vá!
    Lá tem munguzá,
    Então vá!
    Se “quiser sambar”
    Então vá!

    Nas sacadas dos sobrados
    Da velha São Salvador
    Há lembranças de donzelas,
    Do tempo do Imperador.
    Tudo, tudo na Bahia
    Faz a gente querer bem
    A Bahia tem um jeito,
    Que nenhuma terra tem!

    Have you been to Bahia?

    Have you been to Bahia, tan girl?
    Then go!
    Once you go, tan girl,
    you may never want to return.
    It’s a lucky place,
    It’s lucky now,
    It’ll be lucky in the future, for you!
    Have you been to Bahia, tan girl?
    Then go!
    There they have vatapá*
    So you should go!
    There has caruru**
    Then go!
    There has munguzá‡
    Then go!
    If want to dance the Samba
    Then go!

    The balconies of houses
    In old San Salvador
    Remind you of the glory and innocence
    Of the Emperor’s time.
    Everything, everything in Bahia
    Makes you feel great.
    Bahia has a style
    That no other land has!

    * Vatapá is a native dish from Brazil made from bread, shrimp, coconut milk, peanuts and palm oil.

    ** Caruru is a typical condiment in Bahia from okra, palm oil and nuts.

    ‡ Munguzá is a sweet corn and coconut pudding.

  • Music by Johannes Brahms

    Nicht wandle / mein Licht,
    dort außen / Im Flurbereich!

    Die Füße würden dir / die zarten / zu naß / zu weich.

    All überströmt sind dort die Wege / die Stege dir;

    So überreichlich tränte dorten / das Auge mir.

    Don’t Wander, My Light

    Don’t wander, my light,
    Don’t go walking in the fields!
    Your lovely feet would get too wet; too soft.

    All the roads are flooded there,
    And all the paths too . . .

    So overwhelming have been the tears that flowed from my eyes.

  • Who Is It (Carry My Joy On the Left, Carry My Pain On the Right)
  • Where Love Is
  • Music by Richard Galliano
    Lyric by Kurt Elling

    Love / makes a drifting dream / of moonlight
    Love / can make a distant song / from starlight
    Love / creates new poetry / most every night
    You love – and then love delights.

    But time / has a way of dashing moonlight dreams
    And tides / create the waves that drown the starlight beams
    And poetry / can never be reality
    At least / that’s what seems to me to be

    For I dreamed of you / falling into love, with me
    And I wrote a song / and sang to you so tenderly
    But nothing in my poems wove into reality
    Instead / you just laughed at me.

    So now I trust nothing of what love eyes see / of stars / or of poetry
    That’s the way it has to be / now that love has laughed at me.

  • Music by Pat Metheny
    Polish Lyric by Marcin Kydryński
    English Lyric by Kurt Elling

    Ja wiem, że zabraknie słów
    Ale mimo to chcę pożegnać się
    Pomyśl, że dana była nam
    Tkliwość, która trwa
    Dłużej niż jedno życie

    Choć nie obiecuję Ci
    Ze powrócę tu
    By znów
    Dotknąć Twoich ust
    Wiedz, że Ty to me jedyne Niebo
    Ty to me, Ty to me

    My Only Heaven

    I know there are no words left
    But still, I want to say goodbye.
    We were blessed with tenderness
    That transcends this one lifetime.
    Although I can’t promise to return
    and touch your lips again
    Know forever that you are my only heaven.
    You hold me.
    You carry me within your memory.


Kurt Elling: Voice
John McLean: Acoustic and Electric Guitars
Gary Versace: Piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B-3 Organ, Accordion
Clark Sommers: Bass
Kendrick Scott: Drums, Voice (4)

Special Guests:
Till Brönner: Trumpet (8)
Frank Chastenier: Piano (10)
Richard Galliano: Accordion (13)
Alan Pasqua: Celeste (13)
Sara Gazarek: Voice (7, 9, 11)
Arturo Sandoval: Trumpet (6)
James Shipp: Percussion, Voice (4)
Tommy Smith: Saxophone (3)
Karolina Strassmayer: Saxophone (5)
Francisco Torres: Percussion, Voice (4)

Loch Tay Boat Song:  Scottish National Jazz Orchestra Featuring Tommy Smith
Bonita Cuba:
Arturo Sandoval: Trumpet
Dave Siegel: Keyboards
John Belzaguy: Bass
Johnny Friday: Drums

La Vie En Rose & Nicht Wandle, Mein Licht:
WDR Funkhausorchester & WDR
Big Band – Lucas Schmid, Director; Michael Abene, Conductor