Sunday, May 11, 2003

Who Says Jazz Is Dead? Not While This Guy's Around...

I saw Kurt Elling perform live tonight, with the TI Band up at school. Wow, what a talent! He basically has the whole package: Scatting, making up lyrics to famous instrumental solos, microphone tricks, cool sounds, stage presence, the whole visual thing. He did over an hour with no intermission and it didn't seem long at all.

The male jazz singer is becoming quite a rare commodity these days; all the old greats (Joe Williams, Mel Torme, Sinatra, etc.) are gone, and there haven't been too many to fill the void. In the past decade, two guys have stepped up to the plate in a big way: Kevin Mahogany and Kurt Elling. And now, both of them have graced the stage of the John Anthony Theatre. I got to share that stage with Mahogany in '97, and man, it would've been great to be up there tonight (the lead alto of TI even asked me after the concert if I was secretly hoping someone would get sick at the last minute so I could fill in like I did last year). I had never gotten to see Kurt live before, and I was appropriately thrilled; he's taking the music to some really exciting places. Anyone who says jazz is dead should have been in that theatre tonight, as it was very, very much alive.

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