Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Kurt Elling - Flirting With Twilight

Orange blossom

I like those aural surprises, musically speaking. It's brilliant when you 'discover' an artist/band/song by chance when listening to the radio or however it hits you. I've picked up on a variety of classical pieces by having Classic FM on in the background. A while back when listening to Jazz FM Kurt Elling's 'Orange Blossom in Summertime' stopped me in my hearing tracks. Having missed who was singing I sought out the playlist and was introduced to Elling for the first time and I ordered his cd 'Flirting With Twilight' - and subsequently all of his other recordings - just for this track. Couldn't wait. Wasn't disappointed. Always delighted.

I'm no expert on jazz vocal or jazz more widely but know what I like. Elling's known for his 'scat-singing' and 'vocalese' and I like this when I hear it but I think he is just more conventionally a superb singer. He has a full range and at the top, which is high, it is beautiful, but lower down it isn't - by that I mean there is a roughness and at times even a raw sound that is authentic, though I'm not wholly sure what I mean by that! It's not 'pretty' or smooth, though it can be the latter when required. That's the oher range.

The song 'Orange Blossom in Summertime' is an amalgam of the original 'Orange Blossom' by Curtis Lundy with lyrics added by Elling. On the original, Lundy plays bass and Bobby Watson is on sax on their album 'Beatitudes', and the beautiful melodic line is picked up and made even more wonderful in Elling's version and delivery.

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