PASSION WORLD IS GRAMMY®-WINNING VOCALIST KURT ELLING’S MOST AMBITIOUS PROJECT YET
Recording features Arturo Sandoval, Sara Gazarek, Till Brönner, Richard Galliano, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and the WDR Big Band and Orchestra
Passion World, the fifth Concord album (and eleventh overall) from vocalist Kurt Elling, lives up to its title on both counts. Kurt’s latest is indeed his most “worldly” album to date, as Elling casts his net far and wide, from Brazil to Ireland, Germany to France, Scotland to Cuba to Iceland. And it is indeed all about “passions” – the forces that shake our souls. As one of the busiest touring jazz artists, Elling has encountered these passions around the world; he has observed how the same depth of feeling is shaped in different ways by each unique culture through which it is filtered. The result is an album vibrant with diversity and variety, and at the same time a singular celebration of what makes us all human. In terms of its conceptual scope and its breadth of influences, Passion World is the most ambitious project yet from the preeminent male vocalist in jazz.
It is also Elling’s most star-studded album, featuring a small battalion of guest collaborators working in tandem with the singer’s much-traveled quintet (keyboardist Gary Versace, guitarist John McLean, bassist Clark Sommers, drummer Kendrick Scott). The guests include the brilliant veteran trumpeter Cuban émigré Arturo Sandoval; the widely lauded young vocalist Sara Gazarek; German trumpet star Till Brönner; French accordion virtuoso Richard Galliano; the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and its founder-leader, saxophone savant Tommy Smith; and the world-renowned WDR Big Band and Orchestra from Germany, featuring pianist Frank Chastenier.
For most of us, “passion” conjures up love, at its most dramatic and exotic. “These are by and large compositions about romance,” says Elling, a GRAMMY winner in 2009 (and ten-time GRAMMY nominee during his career). “Romance is one of the things that most countries share, and I’ve noticed how different communities have their own ways of singing about love and heartbreak. So the nature of songs I have performed in France, for instance, reflects being cool when romance is done. In chanson, the French teach us the value of nonchalance. In lyrics from Cuba or Latin America there is an overwrought, almost threatening response to a broken heart, while in Brazil they sing of the love that remains after the object of love has gone. They mix happiness and sadness together and call it saudade. In Italy or Germany, the lyrics reveal the kind of statuesque and heroic, almost operatic, nature of the broken heart.
KURT ELLING in interview for Radio Slovenia – link
Record of his concert in LJubljana in May 2013
KURT ELLING – PASSION WORLD
KURT ELLING – WHO IS IT?
KURT ELLING – ME JEDYNE NIEBO
KURT ELLING – PARISIAN HEARTBREAK
KURT ELLING – WHERE THE STREETS HAVE NO NAME