One of my favorite jazz singers performed at the Englert Theater in Iowa City January 24. Kurt Elling is the premiere jazz vocalist on the scene today, and he featured music from one of my favorite vocal cds in his concert.
Hearing John Coltrane for the first time back in high school was what got me hooked on jazz, those great sides of his from the late '50s. My first exposure to Johnny Hartman didn't happen until I began working at KCCK, and I immediately became a fan of his smooth baritone voice. Their collaboration from 1963 is a jazz classic,and Mr. Elling will bring a unique spin to the songs on that disc, along with other pieces, as arranged by Elling and his longtime musical partner Laurence Hobgood. Veteran saxophonist Ernie Watts fills the Coltrane chair for the concert, with the Ethel String Quartet filling out the sound.
I had chance to talk with Mr. Elling ahead of his concert. You can hear that conversation by clicking here. Find out Mr. Elling's interesting connection to President Barak Obama!
Bob Stewart, Program Director