Pianist Laurence Hobgood and jazz vocalist Kurt Elling join the C-U Symphony


Sign in to view read count
The Champaign-Urbana Symphony
Steven Larsen, Music Director/Conductor
The Kurt Elling Jazz Quartet


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Foellinger Great Hall
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Urbana

C-U Symphony

Kurt Elling Quartet:
Kurt Elling, vocals
Laurence Hobgood, piano
Robert Amster, bass
Kobie Watkins, drums

For Tickets, Call Krannert Ticket Office at 217-333-6280
Standard $29 / Senior $26 / Student $10

Kurt Elling Goes Symphonic
What do you get when you add an acclaimed jazz trio to an orchestra?
Why, a swinging good time!

This jazz cocktail is made up of the finest ingredients: three-time Grammy-nominated vocalist Kurt Elling, drummer Kobie Watkins, “Ravinia Jazz Master" bassist Rob Amster, and Laurence Hobgood, pianist, University of Illinois alumnus, co-producer and director for Elling's three Grammy-nominated albums.

Kurt Elling, vocals
In just over eight years, thirty-five-year-old Kurt Elling has risen to international prominence as a groundbreaking jazz artist. He has established himself as a composer and lyricist, and has gone on to write and direct broadly based literary and artistic events. Every one of his recordings for the prestigious Blue Note label has been nominated for a Grammy Award. That's five consecutive nominations - with an additional nomination Elling shared with collaborator Laurence Hobgood for arranging - making six nominations in all.

Known as a writer and performer of lyrics in the neglected art of vocalese, Elling has often interpolated images and references in his work from such writers as Rilke, Kenneth Rexroth, Proust and Kerouac. Down Beat magazine named Elling their Male Vocalist of the Year for 2000, proclaiming that, “To varying degrees, each of Elling's CDs . . . has been vital to the evolving art of male jazz singing. . . They have shown the directions that male vocalists can pursue to push beyond the innovations of Mel Torme, Cab Calloway, Frank Sinatra and others."

Vocalese is a style of jazz singing where lyrics are written for melodies that were originally part of an all-instrumental composition for jazz orchestra. While scat singing uses improvised nonsense syllables in solos, vocalese uses lyrics to take the place of traditionally instrumental parts.

Kurt Elling has been featured in profiles for CBS Sunday Morning, for CNN, and in hundreds of newspaper and magazine reviews and articles. The Chicago Tribune said “Kurt Elling is going to change many listeners' minds on the meaning and purpose of jazz singing," while Jazz Review (UK) opened the possibility that “Elling may be the greatest male jazz singer of all time." He has won the Down Beat Critics' and JazzTimes Readers Polls three years running. Elling has been touring extensively in the U.S., and has performed to critical acclaim in Canada, Israel, Japan, Australia, and throughout most of Europe.

Laurence Hobgood, piano
Co-producer/music director and pianist Laurence Hobgood attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied under the direction of John Garvey in the “A" Jazz ensemble and received classical training from Ian Hobson. Since then he has worked with musician Paul Wertico and, in 1993, joined forces with vocalist Kurt Elling, a collaboration which resulted in three Grammy-nominated albums on the Blue Note label. Together, Hobgood and Elling have produced six albums. Laurence tours internationally and is the composer/ arranger of many of the pieces for orchestra in this concert.

Hobgood has led his own Chicago-based quintet, teaming up with some of the city's premier players like Ed Peterson, Fareed Haque, and most importantly Paul Wertico. The group Trio New, with Hobgood, Wertico, and bassist Eric Hochberg, played to great critical acclaim. In 1996 Hobgood joined again with Wertico and bassist Brian Torff to form a new trio called Union.

Their two releases were selected as among the top ten jazz recordings of 1997 and 1999 by the Chicago Tribune.

The C-U Symphony is the professional orchestra in residence at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Visit Website

For more information contact .


Jazz News


Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.