- Kurt Elling
- Stu Mindeman
- Clark Sommers
- Jeff “Tain” Watts
- John McLean
GRAMMY-winner Kurt Elling is among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. He won the DownBeat Critics Poll for 14 consecutive years and has been named ‘Male Singer of the Year’ by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times in that same span. Every one of Elling’s ten albums has been nominated for a GRAMMY.
Elling’s rich baritone spans four octaves and features both astonishing technical mastery and emotional depth. His repertoire includes original compositions and modern interpretations of standards, all of which are springboards for inspired improvisation, scatting, spoken word and poetry.
The New York Times declared, “Elling is the standout male vocalist of our time.” The Washington Post added, “Since the mid-1990s, no singer in jazz has been as daring, dynamic or interesting as Kurt Elling. With his soaring vocal flights, his edgy lyrics and sense of being on a musical mission, he has come to embody the creative spirit in jazz.”
Elling was the Artist-in-Residence for the Singapore and Monterey Jazz Festivals. He has also written multi-disciplinary works for The Steppenwolf Theatre and the City of Chicago. The Obama Administration’s first state dinner featured Elling in a command performance.
Elling is a renowned artist of vocalese – the writing and performing of words over recorded improvised jazz solos. The natural heir to jazz pioneers Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure and Jon Hendricks, Elling has set his own lyrics to the improvised solos of Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny. He often incorporates images and 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.” Said Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States, “In Kurt Elling’s art, the voice of jazz gives a new spiritual presence to the ancient, sweet and powerful bond between poetry and music.”
Kurt Elling has toured vigorously throughout his career, thrilling audiences throughout the world. In that time he has led his own ensemble and has collaborated with many of the world’s finest orchestras.
The Questions, his new studio recording, is Kurt Elling’s musical response to this moment in history and the widespread anxiety of our times. It touches artfully on challenges – personal, political, global, spiritual, existential – and on hopes and aspirations for the future. Co-produced by NEA Jazz Master and celebrated saxophonist Branford Marsalis, The Questions unfolds into a rich and irresistible musical conversation, as Elling encourages us to join him in living with big questions and finding courage to face our fears as we seek our own answers. It opens with Elling’s powerful version of Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall and gently closes with the wistful yearning of Skylark. His vibrant and surprising choice of songs takes us on a journey through searching inquiries and thoughtful responses that challenge and inspire, touching on heartache and healing, sorrow and redemption, and the transforming power of love.
18:00 Venue doors open
19:10 James Pearson Trio
(James Pearson, piano, Sam Burgess, bass, Chris Draper, drums)
20:00 Kurt Elling