Kurt Elling



Kurt Elling (born November 2, 1967) is an American jazz vocalist, composer, lyricist and vocalese performer. Born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Rockford, Elling first became interested in music through his father, who was Kapellmeister at a Lutheran church. Growing up, Elling sang in choirs and played various musical instruments, but was not exposed to jazz until he attended Gustavus Adolphus College. Elling enrolled in graduate school at the University of Chicago Divinity School, but left school one credit short of a master's degree to pursue a career as a jazz vocalist. Elling began to perform around Chicago, scat singing and improvising his own lyrics. He recorded a demo in the early 1990s and was signed by Blue Note Records, releasing a total of six albums with the label. He has been nominated for ten Grammy Awards, winning Best Vocal Jazz Album for Dedicated to You (2009) on the Concord Jazz label. Elling often leads the Down Beat critics poll, and he was awarded the Prix...

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Recently Played on ABC Jazz.

5:08am Aug 6
album cover
SongNancy With The Laughing Face
ArtistKurt Elling
AlbumDedicated To You
12:00am Aug 4
album cover
SongBlue in Green
ArtistKurt Elling
AlbumThe Gate
4:14pm Aug 1
album cover
SongNature Boy
ArtistKurt Elling
AlbumThe Messenger
10:05am Jul 30
album cover
SongVoce Ja Foi a Bahia?
ArtistKurt Elling
AlbumPassion World
LabelConcord Jazz
4:08am Jul 29
album cover
SongSo Tinha de Ser Com Voce
ArtistKurt Elling
AlbumUpward Spiral
LabelOkeh Records
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Kurt EllingKurt EllingKurt EllingKurt EllingKurt EllingKurt EllingKurt Elling at the 2010 Wangaratta FestivalKurt EllingKurt Elling

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Dec 21, 2012. 3:53pm
ricojames99 recommended this
Nov 16, 2010. 7:57pm
anniebah recommended this
Oct 23, 2010. 12:05pm
Kate Swadling recommended this
Jan 10, 2010. 9:03pm
clynton recommended this
Nov 6, 2009. 6:42am
Henschke recommended this
Sep 26, 2009. 10:29am
riksil26 recommended this


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On Sep 26, 2009. 10:33am
riksil26 said

I have heard Kurt Elling for the first time today (Sat 26th Sept '09).

I have always loved Johnny Hartman, Kurt certainly has a very smooth similiar style, A GREAT TRIBUTE to Johnny.

On Sep 29, 2009. 12:55am
jsm975 said

He's no Johhny Hartman

On Oct 5, 2009. 3:10pm
Aztex said

I would like to protest STRONGLY against the apparent new policy of ABC Jazz to put 'Albums of the Week' on High rotation.

Hell, I've heard tracks from this album HOURLY for the past week and I am SICK OF HEARING ABOUT IT.

How dare you abuse ABC's position as a public broadcaster by doing this sort of promotion?

Someone at the ABC is doing a very good job of DESTROYING the fine reputation and listener goodwill built up by Dig Jazz. This sort of promotional programing has NO PLACE at the ABC and if it continues ABC Jazz will very soon loose my patronage as well as the patronage of many others.

PS. Kurt Elling absolutely STINKS as a vocalist and the backing arrangements are MEDIOCRE at best. His record company employ's some fine musicians to play an 'easy-listening' style of Jazz so that you are forced to listen to the vocal style which is a cheap imitation of Sinatra's style, timber and key.

He might appeal to the 'Blue Rinse Set' still morning Frank's passing but has few redeeming features beyond those memories.

On Oct 5, 2009. 11:01pm
Aztex said

Further to my previous complaint.

I just noticed that the voiceover announced that your new 'Album of the Week' is 'Labyrinth' (Jacam Manricks). However what did you play? (11.35PM, Monday October 5)

You guessed it. "Nancy with the Laughing Face" by Kurt Elling!!! Am I destined to listen to Kurt Elling EVERY HOUR for the rest of my life?

Is there no end to the incompetence being demonstrated by the ABC Jazz team? If not for my sake, please think of the harm you are now doing to Jacam Manrick's career.

The announcement is so emphatic that the next track is by the artist "Jacam Manricks". Now everybody thinks he is a singer (who sounds suspiciously like Kurt bloody Elling) and sings stuff like "Nancy with the Laughing Face".


On Oct 6, 2009. 1:45pm
Aztex said

Tuesday, 6 October, about 2:35 pm.

It's still going on. Another announcement that your album of the week is 'Labyrinth' by Jacam Manricks.

You played "Dedicated To You" by Kurt Elling.

Poor, poor Mr Manricks.

That this situation can continue so long only demonstrates to me that ABC Jazz has no reach in the industry. Nobody is paying any attention to it. Not the staff, not the listeners. Nobody!

On Oct 6, 2009. 7:39pm
Aztex said

Tuesday, 6 October, 8:43pm.

Album of the week announcement - 'Labyrinth' by Jacam Manricks.

You played "They Say It's Wonderful" by Kurt Elling.

Obviously nobody listens to ABC Jazz anymore.

On Nov 5, 2009. 8:57pm
blackrun said

enjoying your Buble collection are we?

On Nov 5, 2009. 9:57pm
Henschk said

Dear Aztec

You seem to have a beef about many things, as well as no judgement about music.

Mr Elling is a genius, pity you don't get it (and I've been playing and listening to music for 45 years).

His live performances are amazing. I've seen him 3 times, twice last April when he played with the SSO (who were inspired by the man). His live performances are picture perfect - you should go to one when he's back - if you can open your mind and ears.

Clearly a lot of folk around the world have been "fooled" by Kurt, read his Wikipedia entry.

Happy listening!!!!

On Nov 6, 2009. 7:15pm
blackrun said

Here here Henschk

Mr Aztex does seem to have wax in his ears...........why is Sinatra 'the' benchmark ?...great and influential vocal phrasing yes...Elling himself would be the first to admit his respect and inspiration from the Frankie. But 'cheap' imitation is offensive to artists such as Elling who is a jazz historian and student of the jazz composition in his own right.........how many artists can claim similiar?.........keep spinning the Bubles.

On Nov 20, 2009. 5:56am
Henschke said

Hear Hear Blackrun

So Aztec, what do you have to say for yourself?


On Nov 20, 2009. 10:45pm
Aztex said

Congratulations and welcome to ABC Jazz.

Perhaps yourself and others should consider becoming the founding members of the "Inner Society for Safe Choices @ ABC Jazz" and help them build a little shrine to Kurt Elling.

Then, you could have hourly hymns sung out by Kurt Elling in a never-ending orgy dedicated to the mediocre of jazz artists. Kurt's next album entitled " The complete recorded works of Frank Sinatra, revisited ..again!" is sure to set your toes-a-tingling with anticipation.

I can hardly wait for that one.

If you are really interested in knowing what I am actually listening to (which I doubt) then view my recommendations and if you're really interested in knowing what sort of performances I attend, then view my downloads.

I rallied against the former ABC Jazz policy of 'Album of the Week' being on HOURLY rotation and they CHANGED IT.

I rallied against the damage being done to Jacam Manricks' career by the malfunctioning 'Album of the Week' playout system and THEY FIXED IT. Sadly not before probable damage was done to his placing at this years Wangaratta Jazz Festival. Many more people might have attended his performance if they were not already in possession of the preconceptions given to them by ABC Jazz about his music.

Sadly, both of these incidents have gotten tangled up with the Kurt Elling "Fan Club". It doesn't have much to do with him at all. I would have made the same protests irrespective of which artist was being FLOGGED TO DEATH by the ABC.

And now we have the coming reduction in Bandwidth to ABC Jazz to rally against. Not much hope on that one I am afraid.

Write to me again when you've been around for a bit longer and have worked out how this place works.

P.S. Who is Michael Bublé? I much prefer spinning my complete (all vinyl) recorded works of the Laughing Clowns. Been an LC fan for 30 years and I even brought along a member of 'The Go-Betweens' to their recent "Live at the Basement" sessions.

On Feb 20, 2010. 10:56pm
stevesoundog said

kurt is a genius

check out this clip

tasty :)

On Aug 18, 2010. 9:08am
Aztex said



On Sep 7, 2010. 1:14am
Aztex said

How much evidence do you want that this guy CAN'T SING for nuts. Listen to "Autumn Serenade". It is literally a CAVALCADE of MISSED notes.

How did ANYBODY get it into their heads that this guy was a great singer worthy of ENDLESS repetition on Dig Jazz?

On Sep 7, 2010. 9:20am
ABC Jazz said

Hi Aztex,
We appreciate all opinions here, set in a positive way.
Regards, the team at ABC Jazz.

On Sep 22, 2010. 3:58pm
Tango Man said

well, for me the guy can sing. yeah let's just respect each other's opinions. it's like some people may like political writings over some shakespeare essays

On Sep 24, 2010. 11:54pm
Aztex said

Do you really, Mr. ABC Jazz?

I've been complaining about that problem in the right channel of your MP3 feed for NEARLY 2 YEARS now and YOU haven't even consulted the problem.

In fact, YOU haven't even acknowledged that 'a' problem exists.

Now, please do tell me how treating your listeners like mushrooms equates to "appreciating" their opinions. I would be fascinated to hear it.

On Oct 23, 2010. 12:10pm

Well, I've been a fan of Kurt Elling for years now and appreciate all sorts of singers. Nice to hear this version of 'Tight' which I know from the amazing and wonderful Betty Carter. Not always hitting the note spot on is the most important thing.

Had no idea liking Kurt would be such a contentious issue!!

On Oct 24, 2010. 3:28pm
ABC Jazz said

Yes, neither did we Kate...
But we're glad to have some discussion, and thanks for your response!

On Jun 24, 2012. 12:02am
Bob Dooley said

His Norwegian Wood (tonight) is brilliant. Wouldn't mind a higher rotation of any Kurt Elliing.

On Nov 4, 2012. 9:08pm

First time i heard this Artist, Nice!

On Dec 17, 2012. 2:24pm
edith ferns said

ABC JAZZ is fabulous and so many people enjoy it!

Instead of being negative, destructive and silly, anyone who doesn't agree should just simply tune in to another station. Easy. There is a huge choice of Jazz from all over the world at our fingertips. We are so lucky!

On May 14, 2015. 2:01pm
Kerri Krass said

I love this station. From the geniuses of the past to the present day... This station constantly teaches me about new artists.
If you want to wine about albums of the week or the sublime Kurt Elling, stop listening. Change stations or listen to your own choice in the privacy of your own space. Jazz is such a magnificent and varied genre that comparing Kurt Elling to Frank Sinatra is pointless. There is room for all!

On May 29, 2015. 11:49am
Kerri said

My first taste of this eagerly anticipated cd. How beautiful to see this great artist travel on his musical journey. I feel blessed to be able to enjoy it.

On Jul 16, 2015. 11:51am
Andrew Kay said

I love having ABC Jazz on tap 24 hours a day - so thanks to everyone concerned.
As they say, you can't please everyone all of the time but give Kurt Elling a rest. His grating, slightly off-key voice makes me hit the mute button every time.
Cheers Andrew,
south coast NSW

On Dec 6, 2015. 10:31pm

Yeah I totally agree. I can't stand Kurt Elling at all. I am always amazed how when things are a little mad in the house they are always playing Kurt Elling . How do the programmers do this? How do they know? He's hopeless and thoroughly annoying. I wish they'd drop him. Why don't they play Ken Nordine's genius album WORD JAZZ. They never play any Nordine. In sympathy, Andy

On Dec 6, 2015. 10:35pm

Yeah as soon as I hear him I'm listening elsewhere

On Dec 6, 2015. 10:37pm

I appreciate the station very much. I also appreciate being able to let you know about how KE effects me, I've been waiting for this opportunity for years, so once again, thanks!

On Dec 7, 2015. 5:16pm
Anonymous said

I really appreciate all the singers you play on the station, from our own wonderful local talent in Australia to the better-known International singers such as Mr Elling, so please keep up the good work.

On Jan 8, 2016. 12:48pm
Anonymous said

What credentials do you have to make these comments?
Try the glass half full scenario. You may have a happier life and we would be spared
from your constant growling. Be your own best friend!
We were delighted to hear Elling in concert in SA with Adelaide
Symphony Orchestra. No small gig! The orchestra is full of Top Jazz
Should we all be like you? Grumpy old man/woman obviously!!!

On Mar 7, 2017. 11:36am
Stu said

Its hysterical Kurt Elling is the most talked about jazz performer on the ABC jazz website.... Davis? nah, Coltrane, nope, Basie? uh-uh .... Kurt Elling.... gold

On Mar 12, 2017. 5:10pm
Simon Vanderzeil said

It's a very big stretch to say that Kurt Elling stinks as a vocalist. What's next, are you going to smash Pat Metheny because he does some "less jazzy" work, or the Yellowjackets because they sometimes ride the edge of "smooth jazz". Even Frank Zappa played some straight ahead rock in between the Impro' stuff, and like others
perhaps it is because they need to pay the band and make a living.That being said, the ABC does play way too much Kurt Elling,so on that point we do agree.

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