Sun, 23 Oct 2011

Kurt Elling and the Klüvers Big Band at the Green Mill

Twenty-four hours ago I was in heaven. Or to more properly recapitulate and situate this, fourty-eight hours ago I was in hell.

Now this requires some context. Earlier in the year, I had tweeted briefly about a Kurt Elling live concert still streaming on NPR, and truth be told, I have listened to Kurt Elling a whole lot ever since. The most recent album The Gate is fantastic, the Grammy-winner Dedicated to You (which retakes the very famous Coltrane/Hartman album) is beyond words, and The Messenger is worth it just for 'Nature Boy' and the funkiest-ever 'April in Paris'. I also saw him as part of a larger and otherwise rather neat tour. But I needed to see the man himself. So following what one can see from his touring calendar, I jotted down two October dates. Kurt Elling at the Green Mill. Fine. That was earlier in the summer.

Summer has a tendency of evaporating quickly, so here we were in October. And getting going late on Friday, so by the time we got the Green Mill, a long line had formed and we ended up paying tribute to the line for fourty-five minutes with nothing to show. Sad. Home we went, and no live music.

But somehow we mustered the energy to go again last night and thought we were early, arriving about 20 minutes before the show was to start. Ha! Others had appeared at 3pm, by 5pm all seats were gone. We were literally the last ones the get in after a short spell in a shorter line, and standing room-only it was. Oh, but what a treat we got. The set for these two days was Kurt Elling with the fourteen piece Klüvers Big Band from Denmark. They played for three marvellous sets, and well over four hours (with two 25 minute breaks). Pieces often alternated between big band arrangements and smaller pieces by Elling's standard rhythm band, and covered standards as well as Elling's catalogue. As I mentioned earlier on a short post (with pictures) on Google+, it is essentially impossible to not fall for Elling's stage presence when being so close to the stage. The man is just that good.

Elling and the Klüvers Big Band will now play for six nights at Birdland in New York followed by a night each in Washington, DC, and Boston. If you're around, do yourself a favour and go out to see them.

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