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Friday, June 5, 2009

Jazz Singer Kurt Elling Joins Dave Brubeck at PlayhouseSquare

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 10:00 AM

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Back in April, 88-year-old jazz piano legend Dave Brubeck was a little under the weather and, given his advanced age, was advised not to travel to Cleveland for his Tri-C JazzFest performance. He’s all better and the show, rescheduled for 8 p.m. tomorrow at PlayhouseSquare’s Allen Theatre, will go on. The opportunity to see this influential figure perform with his quartet is attraction enough. But even better, his originally scheduled opening act, Chicago-based jazz singer Kurt Elling, has been re-booked as well.

Since releasing his debut, Close Your Eyes, in 1995, Elling, a former University of Chicago divinity student, has become one of the most prominent — and consistently fresh and exciting — jazz vocalists working today, standing out in a field dominated by women.

He’s worked with a who’s-who of musicians, collaborated on dance, theater and mutli-media projects, explored scat singing, vocalese and spoken word, and earned eight Grammy nominations in the process. The way he meshes his own erudite, sophisticated lyrics with complex jazz rhythms and melodies — anchoring dazzling flights of improvisation in strong, accessible song frameworks — isn’t quite like anyone else out there.

The six studio albums and two live albums he’s released are about to be joined by a new record, Dedicated to You, featuring music by John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman with arrangements by Elling’s longtime collaborator and pianist Laurence Hobgood.

The 12 tracks were recorded on January 21 during a performance at Lincoln Center as part of its American Songbook series. Elling brings his distinctive touch to standards like “Lush Life,” All or Nothing at All,” “Autumn Serenade” and “Nancy With the Laughing Face.” Release date is June 23.

Original tickets will be honored for tomorrow's show. You can still buy a ticket for $40-$65 from PlayhouseSquare's box office: 216.241.6000 or here. —Anastasia Pantsios

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