“He is the standout male vocalist of our time” – The New York Times
Chicago native Kurt Elling is the most accomplished male jazz singer extant. In a career spanning more than 17 years, 45-year-old Elling has risen to international prominence as a jazz artist and singer. Each of his seven albums for Blue Note and the first two on Concord records were nominated for Grammy Awards. His 2009 CD, Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman, the second on Concord Records, was recorded live at Lincoln Center and won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. The Gate in 2011 was also very highly acclaimed. Some think it was his best recorded effort to date. But on his newest release, 1619 Broadway – The Brill Building Project, a locale which the London Telegraph calls “the most important generator of popular songs in the Western world,” Mr. Elling solidifies his reputation for bold innovation and superb craftsmanship.
Kurt Elling has topped the DownBeat and JazzTimes Readers and Critics polls every year since 2000 and won the Jazz Journalists Association award eight times for Best Male Vocalist.
Kurt’s rich baritone voice spans four octaves and he displays both astonishing technical facility and emotional depth. He has an awesome command of rhythm, texture, phrasing, and dynamics, often sounding more like a virtuoso jazz instrumentalist than a 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 words, poetry, and rants. As composer and lyricist, Kurt Elling has written scores of his own compositions and has mastered “vocalese,” the art of setting lyrics to the songs and improvised solos of many jazz masters. And no one can match his scatting for speed, dexterity and invention.
In addition to his extraordinary work as an artist, Kurt Elling served as a national trustee for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) beginning in 1999. In 2003, he was elected Vice Chair of that 17,000-member service organization and served two successful terms. While Vice Chairman, Elling was effective in opening up new channels of communication within the Academy. He helped create and hosted the first two annual Recording Academy Salutes to Jazz. While vice chairman, Kurt oversaw the creation of the Academy's Lifetime Achievement and Trustees Awards Review Committee.
A true polymath, Kurt Elling remains among the most interesting figures in the world of modern music and poetry.
Kurt Elling – vocals
Laurence Hobgood – piano
John McLean – guitar
Clark Sommers – bass
Kurt Elling appears in part through the extraordinary generosity of Dr Helmut and Marlies Kraemer
Funding for South Florida JAZZ is provided in part by a grant from the Broward County Board of County
Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Division