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Elsewhere you folks ask the question Jazz Dead? The inexplicable good press given to total jazz hacks like Elling and the coma inducing Ms. Krall (not to mention the laughable attempts at crooning, by her partner, in crime and life Elvis - as if), certainly continues to drive nails in the top of that old pine box.
There are real artists, doing real and excellent jazz out there, with little to no recognition. Please redirect your pens towards them and dismiss the likes of these two.
Thanks for writing Albert. Not sure who you think asks the question if jazz is dead. AAJ sure doesn't, and while you may not like Elling and Krall, some do, and AAJ's broad coverage of jazz across its entire spectrum pays attention to artists known and unknown, established and up-and-coming. Search the site, you'll see what I mean.
I was really impressed with Elling's first two CDs (Close Your Eyes and The Messenger). His vocalese versions were incredible of Wayne's solo on Dolores and Dex's solo on Donald Byrd's Tanya. At the Toronto Jazz Festival a few years ago, I loved his recreation of A Love Supreme - only one movement (Resolution) has appeared on CD (Man In The Air). What is the purpose of recreating John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman? To remind us how wonderful the original is compared to Kurt's cloyingly sweet imitation? Dedicated To You is so saccharine that it's difficult to listen to more than one track at a time. I can understand that Elling deserves to earn some serious bread but, judged by his new CD and Flirting With Twilight, he seems to be turning into a crooner, one with unhip mannerisms. Everything is so polished and rehearsed that spontaneity is lacking. Lawrence Hobgood may be a competent pianist but it's time for Elling to cut the umbilical cord.
Well said John. I just saw them live in St. Louis and to call Elling a "total jazz hack" and to categorize him with Krall simply shows it is likely Albert has never seen/heard a full set of him live and has very limited knowledge about him. I could buy all that if he were speaking of Harry Connick Jr. or Buble, but Elling? Come on. He did not croon...he flat out sang his ass off. Regarding Laurence Hobgood, I may be biased, but a Grammy nomination for best musical arrangement for vocal performance announced last week (inclusive of all musical genres) shows that he and his playing are just becoming truly appreciated. These guys are at the height of their powers as artists....if you don't like the recording compared to the rougher things they have done in the past, that's cool. It is a new and interesting sound to me, but I am sure their next work will probably go back in that direction.
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