This week, Ira spoke with Kurt Elling.
Among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists, Kurt Elling has been the DownBeat Critics Poll “Male Jazz Vocalist of the Year” for the past thirteen years. The New York Times declared “Elling is the standout male vocalist of our time.” He is also a Grammy winner, and every record Elling has made has been Grammy nominated. Elling brings his quartet to the Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center, February 8 & 9.
Elling is a renowned practitioner of vocalese, the writing and performing of words over recorded improvised jazz solos. Considered the heir to jazz pioneers Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure and Jon Hendricks, Elling has written and performed lyrics to the solos of Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny. Through Elling incorporating references from writers such as Rilke, Rumi, Neruda, and Proust into his work, the late poet and Bollingen Prize winner Robert Creeley wrote, “Kurt Elling takes us into a world of sacred particulars. His words are informed by a powerful poetic spirit.”
Elling’s current project is “1619 Broadway,” a tribute to the Brill Building, the most historic music address in the world.