Kurt Elling at Catalina’s New Year’s Week 06

Once again, the incredible jazz vocalist Kurt Elling was out at Catalina’s Bar and Grill, performing with his quartet. So, once more, I made the trip out to enjoy a night of fantastic music. Performing two shows every night from Tuesday to Saturday, I had plenty of opportunity to see the ensemble and attended three of the shows.

I cannot emphasize enough the amazing talent of Kurt Elling enough. His voice truly is an instrument, and Mr. Elling fully uses and stretches what he can do as an artist, writer, and musician. Well-known for writing words to solos, Kurt Elling did a magnificent job of singing songs like Duke Ellington’s “I like the Sunrise”.

Having only been a performing member of the jazz world for ten years or so, Kurt Elling is well-versed and well-rounded as a vocalist. His voice is elegant, his scatting is unmatchable, his writing is genius, and his stage presence or “performance” is attention grabbing.

Of course, inevitably as a fan, I had to ask Mr. Elling if he could perform one of my favorite pieces – “Never my Love”, originally done by The Association. He forgot to do it during one of the shows, but did it as the encore for the second show. Hearing the song live always beats the recording, although the recording is THE BEST recording and arrangement of that song.

Unfortunately, being from Chicago, there is not much opportunity here in California to see Kurt Elling perform. Luckily, however, he is almost always traveling; so watch for him in your area and be sure to get out to one of his shows if you have the chance. It will be one of your most musically enlightening experiences – this I can promise.

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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.