Vocal Jazz • United States
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Kurt Elling (born November 2, 1967) is an American jazz vocalist.

Elling graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota in 1989. He then enrolled in The University of Chicago's Divinity School and remained a student there until January 1992, when he left school one credit short of graduation.

In the last decade, Elling has released seven albums for the Blue Note label. He has also performed and recorded with many musicians, including David Amram, Bob Belden, Joanne Brackeen, Oscar Brown, Jr., Billy Corgan, Orbert Davis, George Freeman, Buddy Guy, Jon Hendricks, Charlie Hunter and Rex Richardson.

As of late 2005, Elling's current band includes Rob Amster on bass, Laurence Hobgood on piano, and Kobe Watkins on drums. He is regularly featured at the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge at 4802 N. Broadway in Chicago.

Elling has won the Down Beat and JazzTimes critics’ polls three years in a row
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KURT ELLING Discography

KURT ELLING albums / top albums

KURT ELLING Close Your Eyes album cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
Close Your Eyes
Vocal Jazz 1995
KURT ELLING The Messenger album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Messenger
Vocal Jazz 1997
KURT ELLING This Time It's Love album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
This Time It's Love
Vocal Jazz 1998
KURT ELLING Flirting With Twilight album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Flirting With Twilight
Vocal Jazz 2001
KURT ELLING Man in the Air album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Man in the Air
Vocal Jazz 2003
KURT ELLING Nightmoves album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Vocal Jazz 2007
KURT ELLING Dedicated to You album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Dedicated to You
Vocal Jazz 2009
KURT ELLING The Gate album cover 4.29 | 3 ratings
The Gate
Vocal Jazz 2011
KURT ELLING 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project
Vocal Jazz 2012
KURT ELLING Passion World album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Passion World
Vocal Jazz 2015
KURT ELLING The Beautiful Day: Kurt Elling Sings Christmas album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Beautiful Day: Kurt Elling Sings Christmas
Vocal Jazz 2016
KURT ELLING The Questions album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Questions
Vocal Jazz 2018
KURT ELLING Secrets Are The Best Stories album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Secrets Are The Best Stories
Vocal Jazz 2020

KURT ELLING EPs & splits

KURT ELLING live albums

KURT ELLING Live in Chicago album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Chicago
Vocal Jazz 2000
KURT ELLING Live in Chicago Out Takes album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in Chicago Out Takes
Vocal Jazz 2000
KURT ELLING Kurt Elling / James Morrison : Live in New York album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Kurt Elling / James Morrison : Live in New York
Vocal Jazz 2019

KURT ELLING demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

KURT ELLING re-issues & compilations

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KURT ELLING movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)



Album · 2011 · Vocal Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
"Mr Kurt Elling" should be the term we use for Kurt these days and the only evidence required for his rise in stature is not because he won "Downbeat" or "Jazz Journalists", and "Jazz Times" jazz vocalist for 2010, the reason is this new album that has just been released by Kurt under the title,"The Gate" which has put him into double figures being his tenth album. Maturity and professionalism are the components behind the the talent of Kurt today and his wonderful partner "Laurence Hobgood" who can play piano with the best going around in Jazz today and actually does have a few albums of his own but the majority has been with Kurt stretching back to the very begining of his career with "Close Your Eyes". "Don Was" the super producer is doing just that with his effort behind the scenes bringing a wonderful sound to the production and even doing a little contributing to the arranging which primarily is done by Laurence and Kurt on "The Gate". There are a few talents behind Kurt with the album and "John Patitucci" who is doing bass duties is the absolute standout with his contribution which some beautiful touch and depth. He has played with everybody just about in the music industry. Another who has been around the block is "Bob Mintzer" who is doing tenor saxophone duties and we also have another seasoned artist with "John McClean" on guitar. "Terreon Gully" and "Kobie Watkins", more big names, are doing drums on respective tunes and we have the studio master who really has played with everbody doing his percussion,"Lenny Castro" and of course with his beautiful touch and technique "Laurence Hobgood" tickling the ivories.The selection of songs are another high point with more contempary tunes being performed and not just the standards."King Crimson","Joe Jackson","Lennon McCartney" and "Stevie Wonder" are some but we still get some classic material with Kurts take on "Duke Ellington" in "Nighttown Lady Bright" and "Miles Davis" with "Blue In Green".

"Matte Kudasai" the King Crimson song is first with Kurt saying that they pretty much did it with one take and John Patitucci took the lead first in with bass and Terreon came in on drums and everybody followed in with one great spontaneous result and isn't that what Jazz is all about. "Steppin' Out" by "Joe Jackson" follows which is arranged solely by Laurence which he says on the album notes that it was the trumpetor "Nicholas Payton's" arrangement. Performed a little slower than Joe's original version but with a great result by Kurt on vocals and a simply beautiful solo from Laurence on piano.The "Lennon McCartney" song "Norwegian Wood" has been a real little grower as it only gets better with each play as this whole album does. One great chunky guitar solo by "John McClean" and that bass of John Patituci providing a warm thump into it but never overtaking the sound." Blue In Green" the "Miles Davis" composition with the lyrics written by "Al Jarreau" is just another laid back stunner and Laurence on piano does it again.The following "Samurai Cowboy" is more like Kurt of old with a great beat feel to the tune and Bob's sax and John's bass giving some great backing to Kurts vocal delivery. The "Stevie Wonder song "Golden Lady" is given the Kurt stamp and some great scat near the end with one great sax solo from Bob.The closer is "Nighttown Lady Bright" with the words by the Duke himself with Kurt additions and is a take on a jazz musicians life and a wonderful way to close the album.

This album is a grower and is one where you will hear new things for many plays, all of Kurt's vocal styles are here, you just have to listen and every time I hear this gorgeous jazz vocal album it only gets better.I am betting Kurt wins again this year with all the Polls.

KURT ELLING Close Your Eyes

Album · 1995 · Vocal Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
"Hello is that Kurt Elling","yes","Well this is Bruce Lundvall from Blue Note Records! I have your tape playing right now in my car.I got it from Bill Traut (manager).Listen its playing right now! He holds the phone out for Kurt to hear to which Kurt replies "Cool" Bruce replies"You're Darn right it's cool" and Kurt Elling was signed to Blue Note records where he commenced work on his debut "Close Your Eyes" (Excerpt of phone conversation taken from Kurt Ellings writing on kurtelling.com).

Kurt Elling meet up with Laurence Hopgood in Chicago in 1995 and a musical partnership was created that still exists to today as when one listens to anything that Kurt does Laurence Hobgood the pianist is an integral part in the creation of Kurt Ellings own distinct approach to Jazz Vocals.Contained within this album you will hear scat,beat poetry, beautiful straight vocals and any other gymnastics that can be done with jazz vocal. Not only that Laurence Hobgood is one superb pianist with a beautiful touch. Paul Wertico is the drummer and there is a mix of various muscians contributing here and there on the album.

The album gets underway with "Close Your Eyes" (1933 was the original),not a Kurt composition but one given his touch. "Laurence Hobgood" provides a great solo as the bassist does "Eric Hochberg".The tune keeps the original structure but stretched out with the solos and then Kurt returns with his Scat to finish off which returns with the lyrics. Track 2 is the "Wayne Shorter" composition given the Elling treatment and a delight it is with the scat sung by Kurt. Next up is "The Ballad of The Sad Young Men which could really be described as a Standard and of course sung superbly.Track 5 "Married Blues starts with beat poetry and sprinklings of percussion,bass and piano notes but does not quite gel for me as the next "Storyteller experiencing total Confusion".Track 7 "Never Can Say Goodbye a Kurt Elling and Laurence Hobgood composition is by far my favourite within the album and was actually used on a sampler Blue Note released many moons back.We also get a "Rodgers and Hart","Wait Till You See Her". Thirteen tracks in all and this reviewer is lucky enough to be lookin' at Kurt's autograph on the cover when I grabbed him back in October 1998.He did ask about his current new one at the time but my reply was "but this ones great". He signed and we had a chat.

One has to remember that this a debut and reading off Kurt's own notes he says himself that he feels he could have done better. I know one thing myself although not perfect this is one outstanding effort for a debut and an album I will treasure and yes I would still ask for Kurt's signature on the cover of this one. Nothing to be dissapointed with here.

KURT ELLING Movies Reviews

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