Jazz Gallery
Soul / Gospel & World gallery
Essential Listening
Gig Guide / News
Opinion / Music Talk
The Hi Fi Experience
Related services
Related Sites & Info
Staff Profiles
Guest Feedback
Contact M V Studio
Back to Home Page




Kurt Elling
Kurt Elling Quartet
Kurt Elling

Kurt Elling Quartet
@ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club, London
14 November 2009

Click an image to enlarge.

Desert Island Discs

Which 2 albums would you take with you to a desert island?

Count Basie and his orchestra – Breakfast Dance and Barbeque
Reneé Fleming & Jean-Yves Thibaudet - Night Songs (Fauré, Debussy, Marx, Strauss, Rachmaninov)


Elling is an eight-time GRAMMY nominee who has spent the last nine consecutive years at the top of the Down Beat Critics poll and the last four consecutive years winning the JazzTimes Readers’ poll. He has won five Jazz Journalists Association Awards for Best Male Vocalist and the Prix Billie Holiday from the Academie du Jazz in Paris. His quartet tours the world continually, performing to critical acclaim in Europe, the Middle East, South America, Asia and Australia, and at jazz festivals and concert halls across North America. In addition to leading a regular quartet that features collaborator Laurence Hobgood, Kurt Elling has spent recording and/or performing time with an array of artists that includes Terence Blanchard, Dave Brubeck, The Clayton/Hamilton Orchestra, Benny Golson, Jon Hendricks, Fred Hersch, Charlie Hunter, Al Jarreau, David Liebman, Joe Lovano, Christian McBride, Marian McPartland, The Bob Mintzer Big Band, Mark Murphy, John Pizzarelli, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and The Yellowjackets. He has written multi-disciplinary works of art for The Steppenwolf Theater and by commission for the City of Chicago. Kurt Elling is a former National Trustee and National Vice Chairman of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (The GRAMMYS) and has been artist-in-residence for the Monterey Jazz and the Singapore Music Festivals.

Kurt Elling’s rich baritone voice spans four octaves and displays an astonishing technical facility and emotional depth. Elling has an awesome command of rhythm, texture, phrasing, and dynamics, often sounding more like a virtuoso jazz musician than a mere singer. His repertoire ranges from his own compositions to modern interpretations of standards, both of which can be the springboard for free form
improvisation, scatting, spoken word and poetry. As composer and lyricist, Elling has written scores of his own compositions and set lyrics to the songs and improvised solos of many jazz masters. In addition to the compositional work he has done with collaborator-in-chief Laurence Hobgood, Elling has collaborated in the creation of new pieces with John Clayton, Fred Hersch, Bob Mintzer, Charlie Hunter and Orbert
Davis, among others.

One of Kurt Elling’s major contributions is as a writer and performer of vocalese, the art of writing and performing words over the recorded improvised solos of jazz artists. Elling often incorporates images and references from writers such as Rilke, Proust, Kerouac, Rumi, Neruda and Kenneth Rexroth into his work. The natural heir to jazz pioneers Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure, and Jon Hendricks, Elling is the contemporary voice of vocalese, setting his own deeply spiritual and compelling lyrics to the solos of Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett, Dexter Gordon, Pat Metheny, and others. Responding to the work, no less a poet than the late Robert Creeley wrote, “Kurt Elling takes us into a world of sacred particulars. His words are informed by a powerful poetic spirit.” Elling’s lyrics were published in a book entitled LYRICS by Circumstantial Press in 2007.

Kurt Elling has been featured in profiles for CBS Sunday Morning, for CNN, and in hundreds of newspaper and magazine reviews and articles. The Washington Post declared, “Since the mid-1990s, no singer in jazz has been as daring, dynamic or interesting as Kurt Elling. With his soaring vocal flights, his edgy lyrics and sense of being on a musical mission, he has come to embody the creative spirit in jazz.” Said Jazzreview.com, “This is a singer of supreme confidence, a vocalist at the top of his game and a true master of jazz vocalese.” The Chicago Tribune decided that “Kurt Elling is going to change many listeners’ minds on the meaning and purpose of Jazz singing.”

Kurt Elling

Kurt Elling

Kurt Elling

Kurt Elling & Ernie Watts

Kurt Elling & Ernie Watts

Kurt Elling & Ernie Watts

Ernie Watts


Click the link below for more on Kurt Elling:

The Gate
Nightmoves Man In The Air Close Your Eyes



Click the images below to see Kurt Elling with Richard Galliano And the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra 2011...
Kurt Elling at Jazz Voice in 2009......
Kurt Elling @ the Queen Elizabeth Hall 2008...
Kurt Elling @ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club 2006...

Kurt Elling with Richard Galliano And the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra 2011 (click to go to this page) Kurt Elling at Jazz Voice in 2009 (click to go to this page) Kurt Elling  @ the Queen Elizabeth Hall 2008 (click to go to his page) Kurt Elling @ the Pizza Express Jazz Club 2007 (click to go to his page)

Go back to the London Jazz Festival 2009 home page.

 Go back to the jazz gallery.

[ Top ]