209

Kurt Elling: Live In Chicago

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Kurt Elling: Live In Chicago Kurt Elling and his trio should be on television. They appear regularly on Wednesdays at The Green Mill in Chicago, and his in-person performances are superb. Only the singer’s fourth album in five years, this one was recorded live July 14-16, 1999 with several influential guests. "My Foolish Heart," a carry-over from his last album, offers evidence of how different Elling’s in-person performances are from his studio sessions. The ensemble’s arrangement of "My Foolish Heart" on Live In Chicago employs the same personnel, but is three times as long as the version recorded on This Time It’s Love. Elling improvises the lyrics as well as the melody and toys with the song’s emotional power. His trio works with him hand in glove to heat things up appropriately. In early 1996 only a few die-hard jazz fans knew who Kurt Elling was when he visited Los Angeles. By the time his informal mini-tour was over, the whole town was wrapped up in his firm vocal style, unique exploratory raves, impressive audience interaction, and ability to weave his unusual ideas evenly among the counterpoint of his ensemble. Isn’t that what live performances are supposed to offer?

Reaching back into history, Elling and Jon Hendricks spin vocalese on "Don’t Get Scared," coolly supplying all the tricks of the trade. On "Goin’ to Chicago" Hendricks sings standard blues lyrics while Elling "goes off" with vocalese as if he were a spontaneous trumpeter filling phrase endings. Sting’s composition "Oh My God" swings with a dramatic spirit and a lyric message about world harmony. Lending a natural feeling, Kahil El’Zabar’s hand drums bolster Elling’s emotional fever. Scat singing Russell Ferrante’s "Downtown" with as much animation as the Yellowjackets in concert, the singer works in unison with piano to a bebop arrangement. With one of his other specialties during "The Rent Party," Elling espouses beat poetry to introduce Von Freeman as he and the singer "converse;" then, Ed Peterson, who drives the mood emotionally wild and crazy; and finally Eddie Johnson, who wails it (as Elling describes it to the audience) "buttery and warm." The three tenors then jam with the ensemble and carry that mood over to the final track. Throughout the session, Laurence Hobgood matches Elling’s intensity, tossing out a few muscular keyboard strikes. Equally vital to the live session’s magnetic draw are lyrical bassist Rob Amster and scrambling drummer Michael Raynor. Every track on Elling’s highly recommended latest album is a gem. The combination of his natural vocal timbre and the singer’s "out there" postmodern ideas makes his future bright and ready for a wider audience.


Track Listing: Downtown; My Foolish Heart; Smoke Gets In Your Eyes; Oh My God; Night Dream; (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons; spoken intro: (Esperanto); Esperanto; Don

Personnel: Kurt Elling- voice; Laurence Hobgood- piano; Rob Amster- acoustic bass; Michael Raynor- drums & percussion; Jon Hendricks- voice on "Don

Title: Live In Chicago | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Basement Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Basement Blues
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Porcupine Meat" CD/LP/Track Review Porcupine Meat
by James Nadal
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "Candy Prince" CD/LP/Track Review Candy Prince
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 25, 2016
Read "The Wild" CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 18, 2017
Read "Love Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Vyamanikal" CD/LP/Track Review Vyamanikal
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 24, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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