Scottish National Jazz Orchestra with Kurt Elling
- Kenny Mathieson
- 4 March 2011
The legendary jazz vocalist gets the backing of the country's biggest jazz band
As mouthwatering prospects go, this meeting of arguably the world’s top jazz singer and arguably the UK’s finest jazz big band is as good as it gets. Elling has only performed once before in Scotland, also with a big band (from Norrbotten), and the chance to hear the Chicagoan again is not to be missed.
The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (and never mind that ‘arguably’ – they are the best) are usually heard in instrumental repertoire, but they have worked with singers before, most recently the late Tam White. Their director, saxophonist Tommy Smith, explained the motivation in asking Elling over in the simplest of terms.
‘That’s easy – he’s the best jazz voice on the planet at the moment, and we are really looking forward to working with him. We have worked with a number of singers, including Tam of course, and also Carol Kidd, Cleo Laine and Norma Winstone, but this should be special.’
Vocally, Elling can venture where others can’t go. If his approach owes something to the example of Mark Murphy, he has his own original and immediately identifiable style of phrasing and delivery, and is comfortable across a range of material, from the standard jazz repertoire to contemporary songs.
The songs chosen for this short tour will feature just such a range, including his take on John Coltrane’s ‘Resolution’ (listen below), a highlight of the Norrbotten concert.
Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Friday 11 March; RSAMD, Glasgow, Saturday 12 March; MacRobert, Stirling, Sunday 13 March.