Berklee BeanTown Jazz concertgoers get a rare treat this year: four chances to hear a special performance, "Dedicated To You"—Kurt Elling Sings Coltrane/Hartman, Featuring Joel Frahm and the Laurence Hobgood Trio. The original 1960s era recording captured lightning in a bottle when the two legends came together, and Elling has made it his mission to put his own mark on what was a seminal moment in jazz history.
Elling's rich baritone voice spans four octaves and displays an astonishing technical facility and emotional depth. His repertoire ranges from his own compositions to modern interpretations of standards, both of which can be the springboard for free-form improvisation, scatting, spoken word, and poetry.
One of Elling's major contributions is as a writer and performer of vocalese, the art of putting words to improvised solos of jazz artists. Elling, who has earned eight Grammy nominations, has set the solos of Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, and others to his own deeply spiritual and compelling lyrics, an approach that reminds us of the beauty of the original music and opens us up to a fresh vision.
Elling's new Concord recording, Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman, celebrates a 45-year-old collaboration between saxophonist John Coltrane and vocalist Johnny Hartman. The two jazz legends recorded several tracks on one day in March 1963, and the result quickly became a jazz classic. Elling's Dedicated to You features his take on several of the original tracks, including "Autumn Serenade" and "You Are Too Beautiful."
During his four Berklee BeanTown concerts, Elling will be accompanied by his frequent collaborator, pianist Lawrence Hobgood, and by saxophonist Joel Frahm.
See the full Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival schedule.