Jazz Vocalist Kurt Elling Returns to Gustavus Posted on October 5th, 2009 by

The New York Times calls Kurt Elling the “the standout male jazz vocalist

Kurt Elling: Dedicated to You

Kurt Elling: Dedicated to You

of our time.” Jazz Times traces the royal bloodline of jazz singers from Satchmo to Kurt Elling. The Washington Post writes that Kurt Elling has come to “embody the creative spirit in jazz.” And Billboard Magazine has selected Kurt Elling as the premiere jazz vocalist for the past ten years. No matter what your tastes, Kurt Elling has become vital to the evolution of jazz vocals and is considered the pre-eminent jazz vocalist of the day. The Gustavus Artist Series is pleased to bring one of Gustavus’ favorite sons back to Gustavus for his 20th anniversary concert at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, October 10. The site of this concert is the venue where this astounding talent first performed jazz before a live audience, Jussi Björling Recital Hall.

For Saturday’s performance, Kurt is joined by long-time collaborator and musical partner Laurence Hobgood on piano. Dave Brubeck calls Hobgood one of the most “incredible pianists I’ve ever known,” and the Chicago Tribune claims him to be a “powerhouse, an imaginative improvisor with a Herculean technique.” Bassist Michael Olatuja and drummer Ulysses Owens complete the combo.

With Hobgood, Kurt Elling has been pushing the boundaries of vocal jazz since they co-produced their first recording in 1995, Close Your Eyes. The duo has continued to produce 8 Grammy-nominated recordings one after the other. In their recent contribution to the music world, Dedicated to You, Kurt Elling sings the music of John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. Recorded in January 2009 as part of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, the recording packs the best of the live performance into stunning spectrum of music, both vocal and instrumental.

In addition to 8 Grammy nominations, Elling has been honored with top honors in the Down Beat and Jazz Time Readers‘ polls, four Jazz Journalists Association selections as Best Male Vocalist and the Prix Billie Holiday form the Academe du Jazz in Paris.

But ultimately, it’s about the music, not awards. As Duke Ellington said, “There is only good music and bad music.” On Saturday night you have the opportunity to hear Kurt Elling live, on tour between Monterey Jazz and the Thelonius Monk Festival in Washington. You get to decide if all those who proclaim Kurt Elling as the premiere jazz vocalist of our day are correct or not. The house is ready and your seat is waiting. Lights go down at 8:00.

Tickets are available at gustavustickets.com and at the door.


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