Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

338

Kurt Elling: Nightmoves

J Hunter By

Sign in to view read count
Everyone deserves a fresh start. What's more, everyone gets a fresh start, every day: It's called "sunrise. That sounds like a bad joke, but it's true. Every day is a clean slate, if we just commit ourselves to that concept. This theme of renewal and redemption drives Nightmoves, Kurt Elling's first disc in four years.

Elling is all about new beginnings nowadays; he's taken on new management, and he's making his Concord debut after a ten-year relationship with Blue Note. Some things, fortunately, have not changed: he's still backed by the ever-sharp Laurence Hobgood Trio—though they are augmented by notable guest artists like Christian McBride, Bob Mintzer and Howard Levy. Also, Elling is still one of the great jazz interpreters of this generation; he's not afraid to take risks in order to make his vision live.

Who else would think of blending Keith Jarrett with Frank Sinatra, or Irving Berlin with Antonio Carlos Jobim? Elling makes both pairs without a qualm. "Leaving Again/In the Wee Small Hours is a nuanced picture of the everyday "heel. Through Elling's lyric to an untitled Jarrett improvisation, we see a man sneaking out on a lover, unable to maintain any connection beyond the physical; "In the Wee Small Hours finds the man in his own bed, alone, pining for the one that got away. It takes all the fun out of "hooking up, but that's the point. Watching the woman you love with someone else is a universal downer, and Elling flawlessly links Berlin's pleading "Change Partners with the wistful Jobim bossa "If You Never Come to Me to give us two versions of the same hell.

Elling examines love—both lost and found—through the eyes of some fascinating sources. He teams up with Hobgood trio bassist Rob Amster on an improvised vocalese of the Theodore Roethke poem "The Waking, and then follows it with an expansion on "The Sleepers, part of Fred Hersch's take on Walt Whitman's epic poem Leaves of Grass. Randy Bachman wrote "Undun about a girl who went into a coma after dropping acid; in Elling's hands, the girl is at the tail end of a bad relationship choice, lost without the love she thought was true.

With moving versions of "Body and Soul (appearing here as "A New Body and Soul, inspired by Dexter Gordon's 1976 treatment) and Ellington's "I Like the Sunrise, you can't help but see Elling as the descendant of Sinatra and Bennett. But the opening title track comes from Michael Franks, a contemporary master who was always good for a smart lyric and a vocal you couldn't pin down. That sums up Kurt Elling pretty well, too.

Elling calls Nightmoves "a soundtrack, but he won't say what it's really about. I can tell you it's not a "date movie, though it just might send you out of the theatre smiling and—above all—hopeful.


Track Listing: Nightmoves; Tight; Change Partners/If You Never Come to Me; Undun; Where Are You, My Love; And We Will Fly; The Waking; The Sleepers; Leaving Again/In The Wee Small Hours; A New Body And Soul; I Like the Sunrise.

Personnel: Kurt Elling: vocals; Laurence Hobgood: piano; Willie Jones, III: drums; Christian McBride: bass (1-4,6,10); Rob Amster: bass (5,7,8,11); Rob Mounsey: electric piano, keyboards (1, 4, 6); Guilherme Monteiro: guitar (3,6); Bob Mintzer: tenor sax (1); Howard Levy: harmonica (3); Gregoire Maret: harmonica (6); The Escher String Quartet (5,8).

Title: Nightmoves | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Solano Canyon CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "Standard Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Standard Blue
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Gledalec" CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "The Moonlight Sessions, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review The Moonlight Sessions, Volume 1
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 15, 2017
Read "Bright Lights & Promises: Redefining Janis Ian" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Lights & Promises: Redefining Janis Ian
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Shamat" CD/LP/Track Review Shamat
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017