Kurt Elling

Dedicated to You

Adding words to Coltrane’s A Love Supreme? Not a good idea. Why mess with it? You may as well add a tape loop of explosions and screaming to Guernica.

To use the parlance of a friend, Kurt Elling’s got huevos. He stuck the landing with Coltrane on his 2003 Man in the Air CD. He’s also gone in the other direction and added music to words - Kenneth Rexroth’s Married Blues, for example, and even Whitman’s Song of Myself. For anyone else, reinterpreting the gold standard of jazz ballad records would seem foolish. But I think Kurt is up to it.

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The Waking

When I was first planning out what Mystery Train would sound like, I wanted lots of different genres hooked up together like freight cars. But I didn’t just want to play songs at random, not that that can’t work. I wanted a reason for one tune to follow another. The obvious and unoriginal solution was to put together theme blocks...songs about rain or love or the color blue...and give each set a connector, usually a common composer or musician.

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