Kurt Elling’s musical journey began at an early age, singing in churches and choirs. Throughout his career, in which his greatest influences have been Mark Murphy and Chet Baker, he has been nominated 15 times for Grammy Awards and has won two Best Jazz Vocal Album Awards. Elling, who in addition to performing other artists’ works, composes his own songs and lyrics, has worked with musicians such as Brandford Marsalis, with whom he performed at Jazzaldia in 2016, Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck, Danilo Pérez, Stefon Harris and Fred Hersch.
Kurt Elling is a dynamic musician who alternates styles and projects, swing, bossa nova, improvisation, ballads, spoken word, poetry, scatting…. He frequently incorporates literary references to his songs by authors such as Rilke, Proust or Neruda. He writes compelling lyrics, infused with a powerful poetic spirit, and creates new compositions by adding lyrics to songs by Pat Metheny, John Coltrane, Keith Jarrett, Jaco Pastorius and Wayne Shorter…
The Chicago-born singer has had a successful career for more than 25 years and is undoubtedly one of the best voices in Jazz today. His easily recognizable, warm and enveloping baritone voice; his technical mastery; his wide variety of tones and styles; his elegance; his ability to unite music and poetry; his wonderful improvisational skills; his gift for compelling storytelling; his creative spirit; his authenticity… all of these place Elling at the forefront of Jazz today and, at the same time, make him a great successor to the outstanding voices of Jazz history.
On his latest album, SuperBlue (2021), Elling surprises us once again by delving into a genre he had only broached superficially until now: funk. The album, created during the pandemic confinement, features the producer and guitarist Charlie Hunter alongside two well-known hip-hop artists, DJ Harrison on keyboards and Corey Fonville on drums, both members of the group Butcher Brown. Thus, the singer from Chicago proves once again that he is one of the most dynamic, vigorous artists with the greatest capacity to adapt to different genres, and offers us an album full of sophisticated funk with groove-filled music that’ll make you simply itch to dance.