All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Kurt Elling: 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Track review of "On Broadway"

Where female jazz vocalists are plentiful, male jazz vocals exist in vast minority. With Mark Murphy in twilight, Kurt Elling has few peers in the realm of male jazz vocals where sheer inventiveness and muscularity are concerned. Elling's facility is one so great and his musical vision so clear that, at least for the time being, no one can touch him. He further establishes himself as the preeminent vocalist with the ambitious and successful 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project.

Elling opens the recording with the quintessential Brill Building composition, "On Broadway." Its story is a bit interesting in that it was not originally a Brill Building product. The song was first composed by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil at Aldon Music, located at 1650 Broadway, down the street from the Brill Building. Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller noted that the Drifters had booked some studio time and were one song short. "On Broadway" was considered but the pair thought it needed work, so they joined Mann and Weil for some fine tuning. The result was the Drifters' 1963 Atlantic Records, with Phil Spector playing lead guitar. Guitarist/vocalist George Benson later covered the piece to great acclaim.

Elling, in collaboration with longtime pianist Laurence Hobgood, turns the song on its ear with guitarist John McLean going all Philip Catherine on it. After a lengthy, street-sound introduction, drummer Kendrick Scott provides an early tempo with a backbeat. Bassist Clark Sommers lays down the harmonic, doubled by McLean's damped guitar that he progressively opens up until cutting loose for an angular and angry solo. Elling sings in his singular, superb fashion, making this song and the entire recording a welcome addition to the marketplace.

Track Listing:

Personnel: Kurt Elling: vocals; John McLean: guitar; Laurence Hobgood: piano; Clark Sommers: bass; Kendrick Scott: drums.

Title: 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Concord Records


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "A Social Call" CD/LP/Track Review A Social Call
by James Nadal
Published: May 25, 2017
Read "Oração Para Amanhã (Prayer for Tomorrow)" CD/LP/Track Review Oração Para Amanhã (Prayer for...
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 10, 2017
Read "Body and Shadow" CD/LP/Track Review Body and Shadow
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 26, 2017
Read "Live at Ronnie Scott's" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Ronnie Scott's
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 10, 2017
Read "Burn The Boat" CD/LP/Track Review Burn The Boat
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: May 18, 2017
Read "Dedication" CD/LP/Track Review Dedication
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 15, 2017