Thursday, May 1, 2008

Kurt Elling

And then there was Kurt. Here's how much I liked his singing at one stage... I was visiting Omaha, Nebraska in the US of A and being from a bit of a wide brown land (as the saying goes) and also being a bit of an impulsive spendthrift sometimes, I decided to visit Mr Elling's home town of Chicago and pop into the Green Mill to listen to him. I booked a cheap hotel downtown then got a cab to the club, lined up around the corner with everyone else, and eventually got in. The place has a loooooong bar and Kurt singing up the other end and around the corner. The place was PACKED and it was a great night. Omaha to Chicago is about the same distance as that between Sydney and Melbourne...

And then he came to Melbourne (which for him is a much longer distance than the one between Omaha and Chicago). He's been here before and he said he likes it. But he's good at his job and maybe he says that wherever he is. But no... surely not. Everybody wants to live in Melbourne... don't they????

He said he loved the room (the Concert was at the Regent), and it made me wonder what looked like from the stage. I must try that one day... But before there was any talking, he had launched into the concert with My Foolish Heart. A voice that I enjoy so much in my loungeroom, sounding great in that large, slightly shabby but magnificently, dustily opulent room at the pretty end of Collins Street. A little moth story in the middle of My Foolish Heart had me puzzled. There's this moth right, and it used to be the moon. Or the moon used to be the moth. And then the moth dissolves in ecstacy and joy and its limbs fall to the earth as a type of sacrament, and there something about touching the skin of the limbs with one's mouth, which made me feel a bit shuddery because I don't know if you've seen a moth's legs up close, like when you were learning to use a microscope as a kid and stuff but they're not the sort of thing I'd want to put in my mouth... but then he went back to My Foolish Heart, so that was alright after all.

Julien Wilson, who last night at the Secret Squirrels won The Renault Australian Jazz Artist of the Year award (Vroom Vroom! Congrats!) joined Kurt and band (Laurence Hobgood - piano, Robert Amster - bass, Kobie Watkins - drums) for Masquerade and a couple of other songs, with his classy black outfit and his saxophone and the crowd loved to see him there. A bucket of Karma to Kurt - he's been generous in this way before, inviting Michelle Nicolle up on stage with him on a previous visit too (I am told this by my friend the Phantom)

A few new songs, a few oldies (he finished with Resolution, the Coltrane piece with Kurt Elling lyrics - a beautiful song). As usual there were some lyrics I dug and some I didn't... One song I liked had a line in it that has stuck with me tonight... "We think by feeling; what is there to know?" I hear alot of that from musicians, funnily enough.

Also memorable, the Dexter Gordon piece (I think it's from the Nightmoves CD) with lyrics that celebrate Kurt's daughter (now two and half years old, he told us... )

And a wave to Nancy Wilson who had been originally booked by the festival and was not able to make it due to Ill Health. A signature tune (Kurt's words) Save Your Love For Me done simple and warm.

He's got a great voice, he's got a great band. He seems generous, warm, authentic and he says he likes us and the city we live in.

Noice. Lidies n gennlemen, Kurt Alling wool be available for merchandoise soining after the show. Thank you and good noight.

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