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1619 Broadway ‒ The Brill Building Project

Kurt Elling

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Customer Reviews

An American Tunebook

There's a lot to love on this album. As usual, the Laurence's arrangements are a treat. All the notes are "Right." Ballad lovers can have "I Only Have Eyes For You," "So Far Away" and "A House Is Not A Home," which has one of the most beautiful intros the guys have ever recorded. It does clock in at a good seven minutes long though, which for a slow song is an interesting arrangement choice, but that kind of reflects what happens in the live setting-a groove can inspire you to go as long as you need to go.

"Come Fly With Me" is a more sensitive rendition than they were opening shows with a few years ago, but still contains the beautiful flourish that opens it and a subdued horn arrangement. It's all and pure KE/LH (if you want a Sinatra tribute act, might I suggest the album that "Family Guy's" creator just put out.)

As I mentioned, there's a lot of 'hard swing.' "I'm Satisfied," "Tutti for Cootie" "and to an extent "On Broadway" all kind of fall into this category. It's Jazz the way people who don't listen to Jazz imagine it should be when they think of it favorably. You almost imagine Kurt in a Zoot suit listening to these-especially when you get to "Shoppin' for Clothes" which treats you to Christian McBride playing the salesman opposite Kurt (reminiscent of LIC's "Goin' to Chicago") and the line "You would never treat Pizzarelli this way." "Tutti" features Sommers talents in the intro and head, and like most of these tunes, builds into a crescendo of numbers, in and out.

As I listened I was pretty sure that the album was rising to its highest point when it recalled the Fusion/British Prog Jazz of the early seventies-"You Send Me" for example, where Kurt backs himself up in multipart harmony and the sonic pallet could apply to any number of genres. "Pleasant Valley Sunday" is the most experimental limb I've heard Kurt climb out on since "Señor Blues" but he pulls it off without alienating the rest of the work (and you get to hear Jade contribute a little there too.) "On Broadway" could be added to this set as well. Any of these would be something that Curved Air or Weather Report lovers would get into.
Paul Simon's "American Tune" is the second to the last song on the album.

And it's the most beautiful thing I've heard in ages.

This is the simplest and most powerful tune I've ever heard the boys do. On some of Laurence's albums, they approach this depth, but it's never hit quite like this. The recording is simply affective. You feel as though you're sitting in a church, just the three of you, and you're hearing exactly what all of America is through the baritone and the grand piano. This may serve to show that Simon is a songwriter but that the singing of songs is best left to Singers, that music is best left to musicians. Be careful when you get to this track. It's powerful and makes me tear up. It's the summation of everything that Kurt and Laurence have ever done together or apart in the context of someone else's song.

Well done.

An Instant Classic

Kurt Elling does it again with this stunning album. His maturity shines through, the richness of his voice is captivating. The musicians swing it hard on songs like "On Broadway", then magically mesmerize with simple beauty on songs like "American Tune." This is one to put on repeat, put the headphones on, and disappear into.

This Man knows Music

Kurt Elling is amazing. You won't regret purchasing this album. "House is not a Home" is a jewel. If you're a Kurt Elling fan then i don't have much to explain. Just purchase the album now!

Biography

Born: November 2, 1967 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the few male jazz singers from around the baby boom generation, Kurt Elling is an anomaly simply by profession. Given the depth and broad vision of his recordings and performance style, Elling is in a league of his own. Planning a career in the academic world, he discovered jazz and took to it naturally. Deeply influenced by singer and poet Mark Murphy, Elling began to develop his idiosyncratic scat style in the smaller clubs of Chicago (primarily at The Green Mill, sharing the stage with...
Full Bio
1619 Broadway ‒ The Brill Building Project, Kurt Elling
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