CMJ - 1/24/00, p.32
"...captures him onstage at the Green Mill, the venue where Elling first carved a niche for himself as a stunningly innovative...jazz vocalist..."
JazzTimes - 6/00, p.114
"...Elling's finest work so far. He's relying less on aping his inspiration, Mark Murphy, and is evolving his own sound and style..."
Personnel: Kurt Elling, Jon Hendricks (vocals); Von Freeman, Ed Petersen, Eddie Johnson (tenor saxophone); Laurence Hobgood (piano); Rob Amster (acoustic bass); Michael Raynor (drums); Kahil El 'Zabar (hand drums).
Recorded at The Green Mill Jazz Club, Chicago, Illinois on July 14-16, 1999.
Includes liner notes by Neil Tesser.
LIVE IN CHICAGO was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
Personnel: Kurt Elling (vocals); Jon Hendricks (vocals); Rob Amster (strings, acoustic bass); Ed Petersen, Eddie Johnson , Von Freeman (tenor saxophone); Laurence Hobgood (piano); Michael Raynor (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Danny Leake.
Liner Note Author: Neil Tesser.
Recording information: Chicago, IL (07/14/1999/07/15/1999); Green Mill Jazz Club; Chicago (07/14/1999/07/15/1999).
Photographers: Marc PoKempner; Tiffany Pemberton.
Kurt Elling may well be carrying the scat singing torch into the new millennium. Employing a singing approach popularized by Jon Hendricks in the 1950's, Elling seems poised to keep scat not only alive, but modern.
On LIVE IN CHICAGO, he best displays this vocal improvisational technique on the complex uptempo burner, "Downtown," and the Sting tune, "Oh My God," the latter featuring percussionist Kahil El'Zabar on African hand drums. Elling delights in blistering 16th note flourishes set against the driving rhythms of the percussion. His vocal clarity and intonation are impressive, as are his energy and overall cool-headedness. Rhythmically diverse and melodically compelling, the musicians on LIVE IN CHICAGO have a natural rapport with one another; the music is marked by spontaneous group dynamic shifts, each musician lending a hand in forging remarkable band interplay. Finally, duets between Elling and his mentor, Jon Hendricks, on "Don't Get Started" and "Goin' to Chicago" are an added and endearing plus.