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News & Music Contributors
Tue September 25, 2012
Win tickets to see vocalist Kurt Elling at Jazz Alley
Enter here to win!
- Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling
- Tickets are for October 4, 7:30 p.m.
- Dimitriou's Jazz Alley
The Gate (2011) pointed Elling in a new and satisfyingly emotional direction. He has somehow found a way to make a deeply personal statement out of the music of King Crimson, Joe Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and the Beatles, in addition to providing a new and vibrant understanding of Miles Davis, Bill Evans, and Herbie Hancock. That Elling is first and foremost a jazz singer makes the work searching and enthralling. His phrasing is cool and meditative as he ventures into areas usually reserved for instrumentalists. As a lyricist, Elling breathes new life into gems previously known only for their melodies.
Elling has been named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association on over half a dozen occasions in the past ten years, including 2012, and during the same interval has been the perennial winner of the DownBeat Critics Poll. He is also a Grammy winner, and every record he has made has been Grammy nominated. Elling’s rich baritone spans four octaves and features both astonishing technical mastery and emotional depth. His command of rhythm, texture, phrasing, and dynamics is more like a virtuoso jazz instrumentalist than a vocalist. His repertoire includes original compositions and modern interpretations of standards, all of which are springboards for inspired improvisation, scatting, spoken word, and poetry. Elling is a renowned artist of vocalese—the writing and performing of words over recorded improvised jazz solos. The natural heir to jazz pioneers Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure, and Jon Hendricks, Elling has set his own lyrics to the improvised solos of Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett, and Pat Metheny. He often incorporates images and references from writers such as Rilke, Rumi, Neruda, and Proust into his work.
Elling has recorded and/or performed with an array of artists, including Terence Blanchard, Dave Brubeck, Jon Hendricks, Charlie Hunter, Al Jarreau, Christian McBride, and Kurt Rosenwinkel. He served as the Artist-in-Residence for the Singapore Music and Monterey Jazz Festivals. He has also written multi-disciplinary works for The Steppenwolf Theatre and the City of Chicago. The Obama Administration’s first state dinner featured Elling in a command performance.
Enter here to win!