Kurt Elling – The Gate and more

The concert at the Club de Musica y Jazz San Juan Evangelista in Madrid last night was spectacular, as Kurt often is. Most of the repertoire came from his latest release The Gate, but then there were as well older and newer songs he played around with in a way only he can do – his vocals are absolutely unique and fascinating, especially when he is vocalizing instrumental soli, like in Marc Johnson’s Samurai Cowboy – one of my favourites from The Gate.

Even the absence of long-term musical director Laurence Hobgood didn’t affect the set very much, as Kurt changed arrangements and his temporary replacement on piano Mads Baerentzen, who had played with Kurt before as part of the Klüvers Big Band, filled in neatly. Bassplayer Clarke Sommers, drummer Ulysses Owens jr. and guitarist John McLean are perfect partners for Kurt and follow swiftly wherever he ventures musically.

A sold out house celebrated the concert with an encore and a standing ovation. A deserved one.

After the show local agent Amparo Tebar took Kurt and the band and myself and my wife out for dinner – as this is Spain a late dinner is nothing unusual and with some good food and wine we all had a great time.

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with Kurt after the show.

Tonight the festivals continues with various concerts by the very exciting pianist Moises P. Sanchez, some young local acts and Dave Holland with Pepe Habichuela and Josemi Carmona – the show we will attend to.

Just a thought on the announced purchase of EMI by Universal Music – for Jazz this is a great opportunity if they can combine at one point (after the approval from regulators in the US and Europe) Blue Note, Verve, Impulse and Emarcy under one umbrella and therefore being able to work core jazz releases as well as more crossover projects on the various labels and do catalogue work in combinations of repertoire, which so far has not been possible. I’ll keep my fingers crossed, not only because of my connections to Universal Jazz, but because of this being an opportunity for the genre to create in difficult times a repertoire centre that is sustainable.

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