Ever since emerging from the 1990s Chicago jazz scene to sign with Blue Note Records, vocalist Kurt Elling has steadily built both his audience and his media following.
His work has drawn on influences and elements such as scatting and vocalese, American popular song and more contemporary American pop, poetry and Beat literature—the latter by way of another strong influence, singer Mark Murphy.
Jazz critic Ted Gioia has singled out Elling as the preeminent male singer of his times, writing that “Elling has crafted an intense and deeply personal style, and is perhaps best described as a beat generation bard for the new millennium.
Others of his generation may have a wider vocal range or surer intonation, but Elling trumps them all through the sheer creativity and forcefulness of his performances.”
On this edition of Afterglow Elling talks with host David Brent Johnson about how the new CD came to be, the challenge of doing a tribute album that still makes an original artistic statement, and why John Coltrane’s ballads records of the early 1960s have become such iconic and popular records.
We’ll hear music from Dedicated to You, as well as one of Elling’s earliest recordings, “Nature Boy.”
Watch the promotional video that Elling made for Dedicated to You: