Records - Kurt Elling (4 stars)

KURT ELLING

Nightmoves (Concord Records)

JAZZ

Kurt Elling has stood out in the current plethora of jazz singers on both sides of the Atlantic. Hailed as a natural successor to Mark Murphy, Elling has developed as an individual and distinctive stylist, and his debut recording for Concord (following a half-dozen highly-regarded releases on Blue Note) will only add to his hip, charismatic image. He is accompanied by his working trio led by pianist and arranger Laurence Hobgood, augmented by guests that include Yellowjackets saxman Bob Mintzer and the Escher String Quartet

Nightmoves is conceived as a kind of nocturnal journey from midnight to sunrise, framed in a set of songs that evoke the romantic, melancholic, reflective atmosphere of the wee small hours. They range from jazz standards to his settings of poems by Walt Whitman and Theodore Roethke, and conclude with Ellington’s ‘I Like the Sunrise’. It is a beautifully conceived project, and a fine start to his relationship with his new label.

(Kenny Mathieson)

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