The Gate: Perfectly controlled and stylish

With a Grammy award and eight other Grammy-nominated albums under his belt, Elling has now taken on the mantle of “world’s greatest male jazz vocalist”. This new album shows he wears it with panache.
There’s something just so perfectly controlled and stylish about everything he does, whether it’s Stevie Wonder’s Golden Lady, Lennon/McCartney’s Norwegian Wood, or Miles Davis’s Blue in Green.

Elling has gathered together a fabulous band, including John Patitucci on bass and John McLean on guitar. And the voice is a thing of wonder. It has laser-sharp tuning, soars up to a soft-as-honey head tone and on words like “bittersweet” changes magically to a harsher colour.

But the sheer smooth perfection of the sound (produced by aural wizard Don Was) and the calculated effectiveness of the singing eventually begin to seem enervating. This is an album you admire rather than love.