281: Carla Bley with Steve Swallow, ‘Lawns’

101: Kurt Elling, “Li’l Darlin'”

I think 43-year old Kurt Elling is the finest male jazz singer ever. So you can imagine my pleasure at having the opportunity recently to take him and his band up to Jerusalem to visit some incredible sites in the Old City. Along the way we had an in-depth discussion about jazz singing and jazz singers, then in the evening I saw a bang-up show. Here’s a long article describing that exceptional day.
In Song of The Week, I compare Kurt’s version of Count Basie’s “Li’l Darlin'” with that of his musical mentor Mark Murphy, explaining why I think this young man is the best. Ever.

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007: John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, ‘My One and Only Love’

This week I had the unique pleasure to spend a day with Kurt Elling, taking him on a day trip to Jerusalem, talking music with him, then attending his knockout show. I’m busy writing it up, and will share it with you soon. In the meantime, here’s some a posting from way back, very relevant to Mr Elling.
Johnny Hartman had a respectable though not brilliant career as a crooner contemporaneously with and then beyond Coltrane. His voice is so smooth it makes Billy Eckstine sound like Mick Jagger, Nat Cole like Joe Cocker. His acknowledged masterpiece is their joint venture, “John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman”. Only 30 minutes long, it’s enough of a classic to warrant an homage by as fine an artist as Kurt Elling.

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