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ALBUM REVIEWS

Kurt Elling: The Questions

Read "The Questions" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

How does one grapple with existence and its juxtaposition against the present state of affairs? That's the question that hangs heaviest over The Questions. While vocalist Kurt Elling didn't come into this production with a theme in mind, he discovered a through line in the act of wrestling with difficulties and dreams in this age of marked unreason and unrest. With these ten songs he explores that topic to the fullest, coloring the music with his signature blend of authority ...

BAILEY'S BUNDLES

Seven woMEN 2018 – Part III

Read "Seven woMEN 2018 – Part III" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Look what creeped into my monthly column... and herein exist end-of-the-year-recordings...(you decide which ones). Ben Paterson That Old Feeling Cellar Live Records 2018 Everything about pianist/vocalist Ben Paterson's Cellar Live release, That Old Feeling is delightful. This recording is a beautiful throwback, with just a touch of sepia: not enough to induce pedestrian nostalgia, but plenty to remind us of the considerable charms of straight-ahead jazz well performed. Paterson claims the ...

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Male Vocals – Mark Murphy, Theo Bleckmann, Gregory Porter, Jimmy Scott, Kurt Elling, Ron Boustead

Read "Male Vocals – Mark Murphy, Theo Bleckmann, Gregory Porter, Jimmy Scott, Kurt Elling, Ron Boustead" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

What passes for male jazz vocals makes an interesting dichotomy with female jazz vocals. Judging by the number of female jazz vocal releases that come my way, I almost believe that every woman fancies that she can make a jazz recording. Interestingly, there are many good to great ones. Not so with men. I probably see only a fifth to a quarter the number of male vocal releases when compared to the female. Nothing scientific, and certainly anecdotal. And also, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Kurt Elling: The Beautiful Day

Read "The Beautiful Day" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Forget the standard old tidings of good cheer, the same old set of swinging Christmas standards, and the sugary holiday treats that lack vitality and real sustenance. Kurt Elling certainly paid little mind to them when he was putting together this gem of a program. Instead of taking the road more traveled when it comes to holiday trips, Elling takes back roads and detours. And as with most of his projects, that makes all the difference. For his ...

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Christmas 2016 II: Contemporary

Read "Christmas 2016 II:  Contemporary" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling says of the holidays, “In the Western world, whether you're Christian or not, Christmas has some kind of seasonal relevance to you...You really cannot escape the holiday--even if it is just coming at you on television...for me, the holiday comes enriched with a lot of beautiful personal memories. It also comes freighted with the knowledge that millions of other people would carry their own such memories; and not all those memories are of happy occasions."

LIVE REVIEWS

Kurt Elling With The Keith Ganz Trio at Jazz Standard

Read "Kurt Elling With The Keith Ganz Trio at Jazz Standard" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Kurt Elling With The Keith Ganz Trio Jazz Standard New York, NY July 31, 2016 If there's any genre of music that's truly built on the idea of spur-of-the-moment change, it's jazz. And so, in that very spirit, we had this performance. The audience that came down to hear the inimitable Kate McGarry on this cool and humid summer night was swiftly reminded of the fact that things don't always work out as ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Kurt Elling at Bing Concert Hall

Read "Kurt Elling at Bing Concert Hall" reviewed by Lily O'Brien

Kurt Elling Stanford Jazz / Bing Concert Hall Palo Alto, CA February 27, 2016 Kurt Elling is full of it--talent that is. As a vocalist, performer and writer/poet, he is just, simply--off the charts. His performance for Stanford Live at Bing Concert Hall, at Stanford University in Palo Alto on Saturday, February 27 made it clear that he is a major talent in the world of jazz today, though, surprisingly, outside of the jazz world, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Kurt Elling's Passion World at Jazz at the Kimmel

Read "Kurt Elling's Passion World at Jazz at the Kimmel" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Kurt Elling: “Passion World" Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Perelman Theater Philadelphia, PA October 5, 2014 Kurt Elling has repeatedly proved his mettle as a vocalist, accumulating so many Downbeat awards and Grammy nominations that it seems superfluous to once again critique any of his performances. One can only say, “Ditto, he's done it again." But, because he keeps developing his scope, it's always worth taking a new ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Kurt Elling: 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project

Read "1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

The Brill Building holds a special place in popular music history, not just because of the songs crafted within its walls, but also because of what it has come to represent. The ideal of the Brill Building is associated with songs that soundtrack the lives and loves of millions of people around the world. Singer Kurt Elling's tribute to that ideal, 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project, crackles with life as it connects with the emotions these songs engender.

CATCHING UP WITH

Kurt Elling: Stories from New York

Read "Kurt Elling: Stories from New York" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

Singer Kurt Elling seems to be always on the go, working with his fine quartet and lending his artful vocals to a variety of other projects as time allows. Whatever the situation, he brings high aesthetic values and standards. He likes to investigate different musical possibilities under the jazz umbrella, which he embraces without reservation.“I don't deny it. I certainly identify that way," he says of being labeled a jazz singer. “I feel that's the approach that I ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Kurt Elling: 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project

Read "1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

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. ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Kurt Elling: The Gate

Read "Kurt Elling: The Gate" reviewed by John Kelman

Kurt Elling The Gate Concord Music Group 2011 It's amazing how small age differences can impact on the music that resonates in our youth--experiencing it after the fact being so different than living in its time. For 43 year-old vocalist Kurt Elling, the music that reached his young, impressionable ears came from sources as diverse as Earth, Wind & Fire's I Am (Columbia, 1979) , the early-1980s incarnation of King Crimson and Discipline ...


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