All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

548

Kurt Elling: Dedicated To You

By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Kurt Elling: Dedicated To You Dedicated To You is a tribute to one of the most beloved and beautiful recordings in jazz, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. On that six song album, John Coltrane introduces a relatively unknown singer named Johnny Hartman. The two musicians had only just met one another, however in a mere three hours, they produce a classic. Hartman unfortunately never gains much recognition beyond this one album. Coltrane obviously fares a bit better.

Kurt Elling is a standout choice to honor Hartman. He boasts a rich baritone with flawless intonation and an uncanny flair for storytelling, just like Hartman before him. They're also both from Chicago, which may be related to Elling's interest in this project (Elling was recently named "Chicagoan of the Year" and holds down a regular night at The Green Mill when not on tour).

The supporting voice on that classic album is, of course, Coltrane. Ernie Watts, a veteran of the LA studio scene, doesn't jump out as the obvious pick for this role. Nonetheless, he doesn't disappoint, though at times he sounds more like Lenny Pickett than John Coltrane. But while his tone may not match the expectations of purists, his solos compliment the vocal approach of Elling perfectly.

This is not meant to be a replica of the 1963 classic. In fact, many of the tracks are from Ballads (Impulse!, 1962), another seminal Coltrane album recorded around the same time. It also doesn't have the spare quartet sound of the original. Elling's pianist and arranger Laurence Hobgood enlists the ETHEL string quartet to fill-out the group. This provides opportunities for a fuller orchestral feel with a few chamber interludes too.

The CD's lone instrumental "What's New?" receives a bit too much care (and vibrato), which when combined with strings starts to drift into the realm of '70s-style Muzak. The track is short and soon the band is back to business with one of the most memorable songs on the original LP, "Lush Life."

Don't be put off by the Ink Spots-style talking in the beginning of the second track, "It's Easy To Remember." Elling proceeds to tell the fascinating story of the Coltrane/Hartman session. For those don't know the album's history, it may be surprising to learn how loose and unstructured the session really was—Hobgood likely spent a bit more time preparing for this set. It's also poignant to hear of Hartman's struggle to achieve prominence as a vocalist, as his fame is mostly posthumous.

Dedicated to You is a live recording from the Lincoln Center's lavish Allen Room. The sound quality is first-rate, and the audience enthusiastic. Elling has once again shown that he's not only a lover of this music, but a big part of its future.


Track Listing: All Or Nothing At All, It's Easy To Remember, Dedicated To You, Medley: What's New (Instrumental)/Lush Life/Autumn Serenade, Say It (Over and Over Again), They Say It's Wonderful, Medley: My One And Only Love/Nancy With The Laughing Face, Acknowledgments, You Are Too Beautiful

Personnel: Kurt Elling: voice; Laurence Hobgood: piano; Clark Sommers: bass; Ulysses Owens: drums; Ernie Watts: tenor saxophone (1, 4-7, 10, 12); Corenlius Dufalo: violin; Ralph Farris: viola; Dorothy Lawson: cello; Mary Rowell: violin.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Concord Music Group | Style: Vocal


Related Video

Shop For Jazz

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Catching Up With
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
Read more articles
Passion World
Passion World
Concord Music Group
2015
buy
1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project
1619 Broadway: The...
Concord Records
2012
buy
The Gate
The Gate
Concord Music Group
2011
buy
Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman
Dedicated to You:...
Concord Music Group
2009
buy
Nightmoves
Nightmoves
Concord Music Group
2007
buy
Man in the Air
Man in the Air
Blue Note Records
2003
buy
Sarah Vaughan Sarah Vaughan
vocalist
Dianne Reeves Dianne Reeves
vocalist
Cassandra Wilson Cassandra Wilson
vocalist
Sara Gazarek Sara Gazarek
vocalist
Diana Krall Diana Krall
piano
Mark Murphy Mark Murphy
vocalist
Carmen McRae Carmen McRae
vocalist
Benny Carter Benny Carter
sax, alto
Ray Brown Ray Brown
bass, acoustic

Events

Date Event Time Tickets
Aug27Sat Kurt Elling
Ohio Theatre - Playhouse Square
Cleveland, OH
8:00 PM
$75, 50

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.