Kurt Elling Live at Catalina’s 2-19-05

Kurt Elling has been my greatest vocal and melodic influence for the last few years. I first became inspired by his style with the album “The Man Up in the Air”. Being from Chicago, he rarely plays out in California, and last February 2005, he was out at Catalina’s, so I couldn’t miss the chance to go and see him.

This performance was my first at Catalina’s in Hollywood, California and what better way to “break-in” a new venue than with a performance by Kurt Elling while sitting in the second row?

Kurt Elling’s trio opened the show with a song before he joined them on stage and his performance was inspiring. His stage presence was very comfortable, and confident. He had a great sense of humor and was very interactive with the audience. His facial expressions and body language/movement were very into the music, and he was very enjoyable to watch as a performer. His singing was, of course, amazing, you couldn’t expect it to be any less, and he received quite the response from the audience.

One of the songs he received the most response from was “Space Cowboy”, which of course, rightfully received the amount of attention it received, but in all respect, his original music moved me more since you could tell it meant something to him because he created it.

Kurt Elling is extremely talented vocally, and an extremely brilliant man. If you check out his site, you will find some amazing sound clips and you can read some of his projects or lyrics. A lot of his work is putting lyrics to instrumental solos – one he performed was a Dexter Gordon (if I remember correctly) solo which was also amazing. Kurt Elling is someone who has greatly influenced me, and so I recommend his music to anyone and everyone.

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Published by Shannon Kennedy

Shannon Kennedy is a vocalist and saxophonist living in Southern California. She is author of "The Album Checklist" and the founder of Teen Jazz. She has been contributing articles to music magaizines and websites since 2004.