Moonlight Serenade - Kurt Elling, Miller, Glenn 
Detour Ahead - Kurt Elling, Carter, Lou
You Don't Know What Love Is - Kurt Elling, DePaul, Gene
Orange Blossoms in Summertime - Kurt Elling, Elling, K.
Not While I'm Around - Kurt Elling, Sondheim, S.
Easy Living - Kurt Elling, Rainger, R.
Lil' Darlin' - Kurt Elling, Hefti, N.
I Get Along Without You Very Well - Kurt Elling, Carmichael, H.
Blame It on My Youth - Kurt Elling, Heyman, Edward
I'm Thru With Love - Kurt Elling, Kahn, Gus
Say It - Kurt Elling, Loesser, Frank
While You Are Mine - Kurt Elling, Elling, K.
His four Grammy-nominated Blue Note albums, as well as his live shows, have always contained deeply tuneful, emotive, and accessible numbers. These demonstrate that the unbeatable combination of captivating music and telli... more »ng words proves welcome grist for Elling's capacious mill. Flirting with Twilight simply expands that view. Chicago-born-and-based Kurt, his musical partner, pianist Laurence Hobgood, and a stellar supporting cast explore the possibilities provided by 12 provocative selections. Here, the pace is slow to moderate, the moods range from poignant to delighted and the melody, the words and the meaning within the two make up the message. Kurt Elling: Voice
His four Grammy-nominated Blue Note albums, as well as his live shows, have always contained deeply tuneful, emotive, and accessible numbers. These demonstrate that the unbeatable combination of captivating music and telling words proves welcome grist for Elling's capacious mill. Flirting with Twilight simply expands that view. Chicago-born-and-based Kurt, his musical partner, pianist Laurence Hobgood, and a stellar supporting cast explore the possibilities provided by 12 provocative selections. Here, the pace is slow to moderate, the moods range from poignant to delighted and the melody, the words and the meaning within the two make up the message. Kurt Elling: Voice
Clay Jenkins: Trumpet
Jeff Clayton: Alto saxophone
Bob Sheppard: Tenor and soprano saxophones
Laurence Hobgood: Piano
Marc Johnson: Bass
Peter Erskine: Drums
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 03/14/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"No musician is more vulnerable to criticism than the one whose instrument is the human voice, and no vocalist invites the public's slings and arrows more readily than the one who attempts to sing jazz. In most pop music, the expectations are low: the only criterion is an album that can be danced to or sung along with. In jazz, on the other hand, the vocal performer must convince a tiny, select audience of "know it all's" that he can hold his own with the very best instrumentalists, with whom he is always being compared.Kurt Elling has all of the requisites for a long and memorable career: courage and determination, passion for the music along with superb musicianship and a marvelous voice. His baritone sound is crisp and clear, his falsetto equally so, and with no distracting "break" from the lower register. His intonation is inerrant, his diction pure, his breath reserves ample ("More Than You Know," with its haunting verse and extended phrases, is a tune begging for his attention).But listening to this album, like his previous releases, is a matter of experiencing many exquisite musical and melodic moments more than the song as a whole. "Moonlight Serenade" might be taken as a touchstone to his approach. His setting lyrics to and then singing the bass solo previously recorded by Charlie Haden is a nice tribute--not simply to Haden but to Elling's taste and imagination. But finally the whole seems no more than the sum of its parts. The song itself has not taken on new life.I wish Elling would make an album in which he forgot about comparing himself to other performers as well as about the listeners who insist on making such comparisons. It's a losing battle, and he no longer has anything to prove anyway. Sinatra, perhaps more than anyone, showed what can be accomplished by, first, establishing a competent and confident musical persona and, second, applying all of that artistry and musical talent to one objective only: the interpretation of the song.The year 2002 is the centennial of the birth of arguably the greatest melodic composer of them all and, when paired with his first lyricist, one-half of the team that produced America's best poetry. How refreshing it would be to commemorate the occasion with "Kurt Elling Sings Rodgers and Hart.""
Less variety and less original lyrics. But excellent
Academic Operative Wannabe | 10/09/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I think that the summary of this release is simple. By far the most interesting song to listen to is the only one that Elling wrote the lyrics to (Orange Blossoms in Summertime). It seems the most characteristic of Elling's work up-till-now. All the others are excellently performed, both Elling and the instrumentals. But simply not the same energy and poetry.That aside, this is probably the best collection of jazz ballads that I've ever heard. But not exactly what I want when I rush out to get the latest release by Kurt Elling or when I drive up to the Green Mill."
concertina78 | Illinois | 10/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although this album is a bit of a departure from what Kurt Elling usually does, it is still a fine showcase of his talents and his incredible musicianship. There have been many recordings that have come out recently of many of the songs that Kurt sings here, such as "Blame it on My Youth", "I'm Through with Love", and "Detour Ahead". Truthfully, at first I was a bit hestitant to hear the same old songs yet again. But not surprisingly, he adds his own special and unique touch to each of these songs, making them truly his own and they stand out above the other versions.
The band that accompanies him is tight, especially on "Easy Livin", and Laurence Hobgood is wonderful as always.
The hidden song at the end of the last track is called "je tire la reverence", which was a famous Marlene Dietrich tune. And accompanied by only Marc Johnson, it is truly stunning and it is one of many shining highlights to a fantastic album."
Nothing Left to Prove, and Everything Left to Say
Philip M Knowlton | Anchorage, Alaska | 06/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kurt Elling has wow listeners with his spellbinding vocalese lyrics, captivate audiences with his powerful stage presence, and made woman after woman (including his wife, Jennifer) swoon over his soft and sentimental ballad styles, all while making record after Grammy nominated record. So what's left for this mid thirties jazz Chicago born singer? What ever he wants. Flirting With Twilight is the latest example of Elling powerhouse abilities in the craft of subtlety. A record of ballads and nothing but ballads is what he offers up for this go around. Most of the songs are standards with few lyrical pieces from Elling's gifted pen. Why does this work. On this topic I read an interview with Elling where he pointed out that not one of these songs was more than one hundred years old and that the only limitation of the song is the cat who's performing it. Elling's Pianist, Laurence Hobgood, is, as always, along for the ride along with the typical acoustic bass and the drums, but this time there is a bit of twist. Most of the songs include a wind section of three (Alto and Tenor Saxophone and a Trumpet) which on the surface sound not unlike a typical Big Band feel from the Sinatra days, but when you listen closely you will dig the complicated dissonance of the most extreme hippness. Well if Hobgood isn't going to co-write anything he better be doing the arrangements. As a matter a fact he is responsible for all the groovy horn sound you will hear. We all knew this part was coming. What is my take on the songs presented here you ask? Well, even if you don't ask I am going to tell you. Why? Because I'm sick and tired of the negative reviews I'm seeing from people who clearly aren't hip to what this cat's puttin' down. Don't get me wrong preference is one thing, but I've read those reviews, and some things that are said made me say, "Huh, was that cat (using the term loosely) digging the same record I was?" Anyways, here we go.
1. Moonlight Serenade. Not your typical Glen Miller version. In fact this is one of two Vocalese lyrics that makes and appearance on this side and the only one written by Elling. To the tune of a Charlie Haden bass solo, off his side Haunted Heart, Elling paints vivid and imaginative picture where the night and twilight have a grand love affair high atop the sky overlooking a peaceful town of lovers. Yes they are all this good.
2. Detour Ahead. Enter the horns. This cut is beyond flawless. Dig the horns, the drums, and the swing piano chops. Put this one on repeat.
3. You Don't Know What Love Is. Normally just a straight ahead ballad, but in this case it given just a bit of bossa nectar to make it fresh again. Elling holds the longest note I ever heard a singer do at the end of this cut.
4. No this is an oldie but a goodie as far as Elling is concerned. This is one of the first lyrics he ever wrote. His reason for never recording until now is that it never seemed to fit. Well let me be one the first to say it's right at home in this line up.
5. Not While I'm Around. From the Stephen Sondheim music Sweeney Todd, Elling used this to open his debut concert for this side just for days after the Terrorist attacks on the United States of America. He opened it be saying, "What do you thing a God of such grace would say if we asked him, (Sing) Nothing's gonna harm you, not while I'm around." A truly uplifting we to open a concert and soothe a nation.
6. Easy Living. To paraphrase this song, "Listening to Kurt, is easy listening, he's easy to dig." Dig the crazy triplet theme carried on through the songs rhythm.
7. Lil' Darlin'. The other Vocalese, penned by Jon Hendricks himself to a Count Basie recording. Elling does it more than justice.
8. I Get Along Without You Very Well. Part one of a very bittersweet medley.
9. Blame It on My Youth. Part two with a verse. You might not want to listen to this alone. It's a very emotional pair songs of lost love.
10. I'm a Thru With Love. Another bossa version of an old swing/ballad chestnut. Elling throws it out nicely here singer the first A section with only drum accompaniment.
11. Say It. Very similar to the John Coltrane version of this song, but in place of John's smooth saxophone we hear Elling's smooth voice of this song about merely wanting to hear those three little words. Fair trade.
12. While You Are Mine. The final Elling lyric of this side. Very dark in an almost Sondeim way of dark, with beautiful harmonies, and sweet, sweet lyrics.
13. Je Tire Ma Révérence. Hidden in the leader to track third-teen is this simple French love song. Elling sing is French and whistles a solo. It's too hip for words.
Well there you have it. No more Elling review from me until Man In the Air comes out. I can't wait. Hope these have been helpful to you all. Until next time.
Love, Liberty, and Swingin' sound forever,
Jazzman Johnny aka Phil"
Back To The Basics
Xtian | Roseville, California | 03/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kurt Elling, well known for exhibiting the depth and breadth of albums like 'The Messenger' in his musical offerings, takes a sudden departure from his eclectic coffee-house poetic style and returns instead to a classic, stripped-down, scat-free, almost medatative style instead. The musical musings on this album, however, truly shine in a class all by themselves as Kurt once again reinvents and reproves his massive talent as a vocalist. Die-hard Elling fans may have trouble adjusting to this transition at first, but any jazz lover who has also had experience with Elling's other works will instantly be able to appreciate and grow to love the quiet passion Elling exhibits on this album, particularly during songs like 'Orange Blossoms' and 'While You Are Mine.' Elling sets the mood with his incredibly simple yet beautiful rendering of 'Moonlight Serenade,' and goes on to define this album as quintessential chill jazz with songs like 'Not While I'm Around' and 'I'm Thru With Love.' If you love jazz as I do, both fast and slow, be-bop and cafe style, Miles Davis and Chet Baker, you will LOVE this album."