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Kurt Elling

One of the few male jazz singers from around the baby boom generation, Kurt Elling is an anomaly simply by profession. Given the depth and broad vision of his recordings and performance style, Elling is in a league of his own. Planning a career in the academic world, he discovered jazz and took to it naturally. Deeply influenced by singer and poet Mark Murphy, Elling began to develop his idiosyncratic scat style in the smaller clubs of Chicago (primarily at The Green Mill, sharing the stage with legends Von Freeman and Ed Peterson) and then throughout the Midwest. An Elling show can contain ranting beat poetry, dramatic and poignant readings of Rilke, and hard-swinging scat.

After sending a demo to Blue Note, Elling signed to the label and issued Close Your Eyes in 1995. He began to get attention from the jazz press, not only for his talent and original style, but also for his choice in sidemen, who included Laurence Hobgood and Paul Wertico for a time. His ultra-hip persona prevailed on 1996's Messenger, which was tougher and leaner than its predecessor, and along with hard touring and a taste for the theatrical and outrageous, Elling won over not only critics but jazz audiences from coast to coast. Elling was married that same year and chose, depending on your point of view, either to revise his hipster image or broaden his traditional base with a collection of standard ballads and love songs entitled This Time It's Love. The album won numerous awards in magazines and was nominated for a Grammy.

Endless touring and guest appearances resulted in Blue Note issuing 2000's Live in Chicago (from three sets at The Green Mill) and the following year's Flirting with Twilight, his most ambitious and satisfying recording -- he opened the disc by singing a Charlie Haden bass solo. Man in the Air and Nightmoves followed in 2003 and 2007, respectively. In 2009, as part of Lincoln Center's American Songbook Series of concerts, Elling released the live album Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman. Elling guested on Hobgood's 2010 and 2011 offerings When the Heart Dances and Left to My Own Devices, respectively.

He also re-emerged with his own album, The Gate, in 2011. The set was produced by Grammy-winner Don Was. Easily his most provocative offering, it featured a few modern jazz standards juxtaposed against a slew of pop, rock, and soul tunes that were radically rearranged and performed by an all-star band that included Hobgood, John Pattitucci, and Bob Mintzer, to mention a few. In 2012, Elling issued 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project, which paid homage to the classic American pop music that emanated from the iconic Brill Building during the '50s and '60s. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Real music!- No frills!
He always gives me goosebumps. His voice is amazing, depth and range.
janeandsteve h a l l
You should hear him sing " You don't know what love is. "
Kurt Elling leaves his mark on American Jazz because of his commitment to excellence in the way he performs and constant expansion of his sound; a gift to the music scene.
erin.dion
I adore Kurt Elling, however he is absolutely not of the Baby Boom generation. He was born in '67, making him a Gen X'er. Pandora, please don't deny us a great jazz vocalist of our own generation, and give him to our parents.
bigblue91
Nice all the time!!!
santoriniste v e
I remember Kurt from the Green Mill years ago!
sherylsteele 7 7 7
Always love hearing new tunes from one of my favorite artist and most unique voices ever! Gotta find this track
yooj0219
Love him! Too excited for his visiting my school in a few weeks!
Just in time. I didn't realize that he has the voice that I've needed for so long. He's brought back a style I have learned to appreciate as an adult!
mrsb2u191
Where has Kurt Elling been all my life . . . swoooon. I started listening here and there then couldn't get enough!
Similar Artists should BEGIN with Mark Murphy!
Changed my life. Great music, mystic poems and a voice . . . what a fine voice.
The best thing my ex ever did for me was introduce me to Elling's music. The man is amazing!
Depth, breadth, poise, grace, intimacy. Beauty. I love his intentions and the results.
sulzbyelizab e t h
I got to this piece by adding to my Kurt Elling station that was becoming too standard balladic, I Inserted Tanya D, and got to this piece. It's got some good scatting but he's not really going as wild as he can.
phyllis.haye s 8
Amazing is the only word that comes close to describing the talent that Kurt Elling possesses.
An incredible talent!
You're kidding right...has to be the best thing coming in a long time; I mean, outside of Nancy Wilson who can bend a note or phrase like Mr. Elling?
nukedoom
Saw him perform at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley and I gotta say, he's quite the entertainer.
jazzymarie1
I have followed Kurt since I first heard him in Los Angeles in '95 or '96. Then New Orleans, New York, Vail Co. and several times here in L.A., i.e. Jazz Bakery & Catalina's
The real thing. Saw him last year in Red Bank, NJ. Harkens back to Chet Atkins, and Torme. The male Cassandra Wilson.
laurieprkr
Saw/heard him a few times at the Jazz Bakery in LA, and I've been an addict ever since. He is not only an extremely original and creative jazz singer/compo s e r , he's a consummate performer as well. He's often remote and cool to his audiences, but that is his style and only adds to his charm. He makes love to his music while you watch!
Saw him at "Jazz at the Bistro" in St. Louis. I was amazed that there were not thousands of people trying to get into the show. He is such an original and skilled jazz interpreter. The world needs to hear him!
nildasmail4
talented, intelligent and funny, I love the voice and performance of Kurt Elling
vbl4
this guy is outstanding! ! !
Was blessed to see and hear him at Tanglewood in the Berkshires along with John Pizzarelli and his family.Victo r i a , y o u r comment times ten!
vbl4
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful... v o c a l e s e !
Kurt continues to explore the crevasses of Jazz that directly point to why we will always be mesmerized while at the same time completely relating to him as we would a close friend.
I've seen Kurt in concert three times and will continue to go to every concert that I can. Incredible voice, great personality, truly mesmerizing in person!
His voice is incredibly smooth and his music can be so versatile yet stay within the realm of Jazz. I can't get enough. I haven't experienced anyone else like him and I listen to many different generations and genres of Jazz. I hope one day to see him perform in person.
He was born in 1967, three years late for the baby boom (1946-64), but maybe that qualifies as "around the baby boom generation."
Mr. Elling will and should be noted as one the greatest male vocalist of our time, his phasing and presentation is phenomenal. What's not to like ..... ???
drwillie1980
Actually the contract with Blue Note was just the beginning. He's the best and there no one else like him.
pandora.luna
As a female listener, I find his voice quite enchanting, without the signature "tarnished and smokey voice" that those old "masters"lik e Louis Armstrong had.LoL.The contract with Blue Note must have been the acme of his career..
You can hear a pretty good interview that famed DJ, Tony Mowad hosted live at the Detroit Internationa l Jazzfest. It can be found here: http://jazzs t a g e p r o d u c t i o n s . c o m / d j s / 2 0 0 7 / 1 2 / 2 0 / k u r t - e l l i n g - m e e t - t h e - a r t i s t /

It is by the same guys that host my favorite podcast-Detr o i t JazzStage
Amazing vocals! I am pleasantly surprised, havent heard of him before Pandora though. How could I have missed him?
He's a great singer, but please get more albums by the legendary Mark Murphy.
rogerhenryjr
Great artist!! Love the strength of his sound - clear and deep!

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