Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Close Your Eyes
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
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Exceptional Art, and Melodic Beauty, and it was just a demo.
Philip M Knowlton | Anchorage, Alaska | 04/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kurt Elling is the new Golden Boy of Jazz Singing. I wrote a review of this side about four or five years ago on amazon.com, and while allot of what I said in favor of Kurt Elling's music still holds true, I have much to correct due to newness to the jazz scene when I first reviewed the record. First things first. For those who have said that Elling has not measured up to Mark Murphy should check out ... where Murphy is quoted paying Elling one of the highest compliments one singer could give to another. It should be evident by, if nothing else, his repertoire. On this side alone he shows us his wide listening vocabulary and great sense of tradition as far as jazz in concerned. He sites Murphy as well as the great Jon Hendricks. Also I think it is unfair to compare Elling to Murphy, Hendricks, or anyone else for that matter. Elling is his own man. He has made his own way in jazz singing. However, he has also learned from those that have come before him. An admirable quality in an artist. This is the breakdown of his first side which was original intended to only be a demo of the music he had been making during that time.
1. Close Your Eyes. Title cut. Honestly there's not much else to say about this particular cut. It's swingin' Bop chart from the pages of Ella Fitzgerald's songbook, and it is a great choice in little known standards in which we are first introduced to the music of Kurt Elling.
2. Delores Dream. I at one time sited this as some kind of broadway chart because of something I had misread. Kurt Elling's lyric to Wayne Shorter's musical master piece Delores. This the first Vocalese lyric of Elling's we are to hear. He takes Wayne's solo and uses it as an unaccompanied introduction to the groovy melody that I just can't enough of. Many have said, and Elling was one of the first to admit this, that his scatting abilities had a long ways to go at this point, however, it is still quite enjoyable to listen to. (Check out the extended cut of this on the Live in Chicago: Out Takes cut).
3. Ballad of the Sad Young Men. It took me over two years and three recordings before I has able to snag a chart for this cut. It's written by the same songwriting duo that gave us Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most. Elling and his pianist Laurence Hobgood to a remarkable duet of this bittersweet song of squandered youth and regret.
4. Salomé, (Hide the). Yeah, I don't get the title either. Well, I do have an idea, but that's beside the point. This Hard Bop/Fusion composition of Hobgood's that amazingly enough is set to a swing. Elling pens a very groovy and imaginative lyric about obsession and desperation.
5. Married Blues. A hilarious prose set to spontaneous accompaniment. In short, what's going on in a sarcastic husband's head during some frustrated times. You simply have to hear it to understand.
6. Storyteller Experiencing Total Confusion. Elling/Hobgood piece with a poem inserted in the middle, and I think there's a quote from the Miles DAvis cut Blue In Green from Kind of Blue. It's profound and surreal. That's all there is to say without hearing it.
7. Never Say Goodbye. One of the first collaborations between Elling and Hobgood this Bossa Nova/Fusion cut about past love and that ever burning desire to one to whom you will never have to say, "Goodbye".
8. Those Clouds Are Heavy, You Dig? Now the say in the liner notes that this Dave Brubeck/Paul Desmond composition was originally titled Balcony Rock, but it was really Audrey, a song written for the the great Audrey Hepburn. Desmond was reportedly infatuated with her at the time. Kurt's Vocalese is an adaptation of the poem, "How the thimble came to be God," about how we tend to take life for granted and push aside our faith that which truly matter, but also, that there is always hope for redemption.
9. Wait Till You See Her. A great rendition of another little known standard.
10. Hurricane. Elling takes on Herbie Hancock this time, and the hip results are summed up in the song's title.
11. Now It Is Time That Gods Came Walking Out. Another spoken word piece. From the same poet from Elling's adaptation when writing his lyric to Audrey. Some people say this is paying homage to Charlie Parker's cut Now is the Time, but I don't buy it.
12. Never Never Land. Okay, who doesn't know where this song comes from? Even those like myself who never actually seen it know that it is obviously from the broadway version of Peter Pan. This showcases Elling's band's ability to to master two different grooves, moving back and forth between the two. Also Elling records his first "Rant" (melody and lyrics improvised simultaneously) in which he encourages us to explore our own potential.
13. Remembering Veronica. I want to know who this Veronica is if she can inspire a piece like this. The only time I've ever heard anything remotely close is when Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea where doing a spot where they improvised of each other. Elling transforms his scat into a smooth high pitched horn.with the perfect Hobgood accompaniment. A perfect closing song.
Let there be no question. Whether you are hip to Elling's sound or you dig another kind of jazz singer. His authenticity is without question. He is a true Jazz Singer."
Don't close your eyes to Kurt Elling
Philip M Knowlton | 11/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kurt Elling is the greatest voice to come long since the late great Nat King Cole (And much dismay of most jazz lovers, I think if Kurt ever were to record The Christmas Song I would prefer it, but that's just me). Also don't hate for this, but I thnk that Kurt has (to me at least) eclipsed Ol' Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, in vocal quality, style, and emotion. The man is one of the greatest singer/song writters I have ever heard. Writing great hits like Delores Dream, based on a Wayne Shorter Broadway hit, (hide the) Salome', a fatal atraction spoof of sorts, and the perfect Never Say Goodbye, an uplifting love song.On the down side, which is hardly there, There is only one song that features the Guitar which is a favorite of mine. and a song or two, MIGHT, mind you MIGHT, get a LITTLE old with all of the scat IF, mind IF, you are NOT used to it. Other than that, it would be utterly ludicrous to think anyone you could ever get tired of this masterpiece of the great Kurt Elling.Also Featured is the Musical Talent of Eling's best friend, Laurence Hobgood, piano, who wrote a great deal of the songs with Kurt, Rob Amster, bass, and Paul Wetico on drums. The three of them spontaneously wote the music to Married blues among others. Also the great Von Freeman plays sax on Salome'.I think tis is the perfect opening for the singers carreer and it seems as though others agree seeing that it was nominated for album of the year by the gramies of 1995, a rare honor for a debute album. I also recomend his other two albums, The Messanger, and This Time It's Love, Alnog with with Carl Doy's new 2CD wonder Moonlight Piano which, although it is an instumental, provides the same feel of the album. I would say that if you don't have this album. BUY IT! NOW! okay? Cool. It's good that we can talk through these things. Well, God bless."
Can you believe this is his debut!?!?!
Charlie Dresser | chicago area | 06/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"kurt elling is amazing. his creative, and intriging voice knows no boundries. his band is great too. paul wertico's drumming on this cd is just AWESOME!!!! it complements the music so much. this is a great one to get, all the selections are perfect. i dont know what else to say, this is a perfect cd to get for your collection."