Jazz Concert Report

Jazz Concert Report (at 9:00 p.m. December 7th, 2012)

On December 7th, at 9:00 p.m. 2012 I watched the jazz concert that was performed by Kurt Elling with the WDR Big Band which was held at the Philharmonic in Koln, Germany. Performers: Kurt Elling – Voice; John McLean played Guitar; Laurence Hobgood played Piano; Clark Sommers played Bass; Kendrick Scott played Drums and Congas. To be honest Kurt Elling jazz concert was the first jazz show that I heard completely. I’m actually more classic music’s person. Therefore, I am not an expert on jazz music; however, it was a good opportunity to gain some knowledge and spend quality time. The concert was dedicated to new album Kurt Elling “1619 Broadway”. Hear were following compositions: “Broadway”, “Come Fly With Me”, “You Send Me”, “I Only Have Eyes For You”, “I am Satisfied”, “A House Is Not A Home” and a lot of other compositions. All musicians played with a great enthusiasm. The audience was fascinated with musical compositions. Jazz and Blues are greatest cultural achievements of America and millions of people continued to be charmed by amusing variety of improvisations of jazz compositions. I think what attracts people is that jazz is really international phenomenon. Jazz is born and being developed amongst diverse population; therefore, today jazz is capable to unite people of different religions, race and cultures. While I was listening Kurt Elling who greatly performed jazz compositions, I started to understand that true melody of jazz is not in the tune (as I thought before), but an idea that is created in a mind of the composer, poet and performer of the songs. They all are inspired by idea of outwardly restrained passion and freedom. Therefore, in jazz the advanced performer can interpret a tune in very personal ways and avoiding performing the same composition in the same way twice. Jazz performance depends very much on mood and personal experience of performer.  

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Kurt Elling is Grammy-winning vocalist and he is very talented. Moreover, he has a great deal of experience and he is not afraid to experiment. Therefore, he has a lot to say about that makes his music unique and unforgettable. For example, he transforms “You Send Me” the hit of 1957 of Sam Cooke into a wine-dark and simmering entreaty. The song “I Only Have Eyes For You” which is the most famous song of 1934 sounds now darker and slower, and almost as supplication. Kurt Elling added to his song “A House Is Not A Home” a meditative reading, and finally Carole King’s swing “So Far Away” in Kurt Elling’s performance sounds with a broken hearted majesty. Kurt Elling changed these songs according his feelings and understanding. Maybe, he changes them because times, people and moral are also changed. Maybe, he has this possibility to the Jazz’s quality to produce a synergy of creativity, interaction and independent expression. Elling’s jazz music is becoming darker, more ironic and mysterious with the course of time. For this concert, he selected his tunes from various epochs of jazz fusion. His band often employs the amplified versions of keyboards, bass and guitars, and this time was not an exception. Therefore, Elling’s personal vocal reinterpretations are fascinating. Electrified instruments work side-by-side with their acoustic siblings, creating very intriguing combinations. A ghostly chorus in “You Send Me” set to a pensive funk vibe. Saxophonist Ernie Watts added saxophone tenor to “I’m Satisfied”. Ellings often mixes humour with depressing tunes of some songs. “Pleasant Valley Sunday” is pushy, with child’s voice, layered by electric guitars that make it almost like Frank Zappa tune. Walking bass core builds up some swinging horns for and leads them to conclusion. Elling is a smoothie, yes, but he’s coming down in a line of vocal naturalists like Mark Murphy. Ellings interlaced his tranquil songs with noisy. In some moment, I feel like I am present at firework show, next moment I’m on the ship’s board. Certainly, I felt passion in his music, but a wisdom also. At the end of the show Kurt Elling took time to meet the audience and answer their questions. He actually have a good personality and great sense of humor.

Listening jazz, I heard improvisation in solo, short abrupt phrases, jazz and blues chords, tri-tone substitution, turnarounds, intervals, cadences and re-harmonization, in other words, all things that I read about in students guide. In fact, I did not need to connect them with performance they were just in the performance and I could hear it. And, it, for some reason, made me even more satisfied with music. It was like looking at starry sky and knew the name of every star (at least something like that).

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