Kurt Elling‘s latest album in partnership with guitarist Charlie Hunter, Superblue, was created with the idea of creating a new way of perceiving music beyond the usual patterns. One year later from Superblue which was nominated for The Grammy in the category of best jazz vocal, a 5-track EP was released this year. The recording was done by Billy Halliday at The Pool in London. Mixing and Mastering by Anthony Gravino.
Elling is a bolder name than any other vocalist whose name is mentioned in the same lane, when it comes to liberating her vocal technique. The album also included names that breathe in the Hip-Hop atmosphere. Charlie Hunter has worked with names such as D’Angelo, Snarky Puppy, Christian McBride, whom we listen to on guitars with their funk style beats. Friends of Butcher Brown Quintet, which was founded in 2009, DJ Harrison on keys and Corey Fonville on drums are two other important elements of the album. Especially these two names are the names that increase the funky atmosphere of the album. For backing vocals, we listen to Vula Malinga and LaDonna Young.
As a music lover who has followed Elling for a long time, I greatly enjoyed Elling’s indescribable harmony with backing vocals in the EP track “Lonely Avenue”, as it evoked a form similar to 90s blues-influenced pop music. While the versatile vocalist creates a background motif in his songs with the help of her backing vocalists, he can create extremely enjoyable fictions with a tremendous expression with his high-confidence vocal. SuperBlue, which gave its name to the album, came out of the sound galleries he was immersed in, by “autotune”. In London Sessions, he started with an intro with the same echo as in the album and preferred to enrich his vocals with autotune in the last section. In the song, Charlie Hunter’s commendable solo splits the piece in two and is introduced by Ellington at the end of the solo. The musical character of Edition Records is to produce progressive and innovative sounds living in the digital era. This album, like SuperBlue, was prepared with the concern of producing independent and beautiful music with heavy inter-genre traffic.
Elling has always been a master of rhythms ranging from bebop to pure pop and progressive jazz to neo-soul, but he has never filled an album with such rhythms. Like the album, Super Blue The London Sessions is a candidate to be a target for traditionalists who know Elling for his traditional jazz-related works. But Elling is a vocalist who has the courage to take the criticism to the fullest and walk his way confidently. Listen to this EP if you have lowered your prejudices and come to enjoy it, as in SuperBlue. I hope you enjoy it as I did.