Kurt Elling has never produced an album like SuperBlue before. We never really expected to get groove-oriented, funk- and hip-hop-based music from one of the world's leading male jazz singers, but that is what it offers, this record co-credited to guitarist Charlie Hunter, along with thought-provoking lyrics that address today's issues, all performed according to Elling's trademark exacting standards. Neither suit-wearing Elling aficionados nor hip-hoppers in search of the latest beats have any business staying at home.
This is not the first time the two-time Grammy-winner (and 14-time nominee) Elling has worked with Hunter. They first met in the '90s, when the two signed with the Blue Note label, and later on Elling made a guest appearance on the guitarist's 2001 album Songs from the Analog Playground. They found each other again nearly two decades later, when Hunter was featured on Elling's weekly webcasts during the pandemic closures. Then came SuperBlue. Although the big blue letters formatted to look... like a maze puzzle on the album cover suggest we are lost in this Covid labyrinth, truly creative artists like Elling have also been able to use the quarantine period to create new artistic output and find new paths forward. Hunter took on a major role in producing the record and served as the intermediary between the singer and two funk and hip-hop stars, keyboardist DJ Harrison and drummer Corey Fonville (both from the band Butcher Brown), as Elling never met them in person while recording the tracks. The grooves turned out hot, Hunter's sound is still unmistakable, and Elling soars like a storyteller, a humorous hipster who plucks at emotional strings. Manning the keyboards on this European tour will be Kenny Banks Jr, a finalist at the American Pianists Awards jazz competition, and on drums we'll have the New Orleans phenomenon Terence Higgins.
Lexus is the the key sponsor of the Jazz Legends programme.
Presented by: Müpa Budapest
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