In a new, weekly segment, entitled "Best Voice Ever," I will be featuring one vocalist each week to introduce listeners to a wide variety of voices, styles, and literature.
American jazz vocalist, Kurt Elling, was born in Chicago in the late 60's. Having graduated from Gustavus Adolphus University in St. Peter, MN, Elling returned to his Chicago roots to develop his unique sound and vision. He has won awards from Down Beat and Jazz Times and is also a Grammy Award winner.
To call Kurt Elling a jazz singer is not giving him enough credit. His voice alone, a rich baritone, shows flawless technique, smooth phrases, and effortless approach to the lyric. His ability to scat is unlike many of today's wannabe scat singers (those who fancy themselves decendents of Ella's). His ultra-hip persona, complete with Hugo Boss suits, brings the audience in and makes them feel part of the "Kurt Elling Atmosphere." The man is not merely a singer, but a true musician. Oh yeah, and he can sing four octaves....
Why We Love Him
As both a composer and lyricist, an Elling show is more than a casual night at the club with some singer who's name is later forgotten. Elling can croon a standard like Frank Sinatra, improvise like Miles Davis, and swoon the ladies like George Clooney. You can also expect some great readings and poetry.
Album to Check Out
Ellings latest album, "Dedicated To You," won the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Jazz Album. This live recording is a collection of songs by John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. Not only do you hear Elling's amazing takes on these fantastic songs, but you also hear Elling's ability for story telling. My favorite track: "Lush Life."
My favorite Kurt Elling song: "In the Winelight"
Vist Kurt Elling