Man in the Air
Kurt Elling’s newest CD showcases his formidable talent as a lyricist and reveals vocal control, sonic atmosphere and use of space, in contrast with his previous recordings. Elling is carrying the torch in vocalese, that delicate art of setting lyrics to previously recorded solos, and this is a contender for one of the finest albums of 2003. Elling’s regular band members (pianist Laurence Hobgood, bassist Rob Amster and drummer Frank Parker Jr.) understand one another on multiple levels as they interpret songs from John Coltrane, Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, and Josef Zawinul and Herbie Hancock, while remaining true to the jazz legacy. Guest appearances by Stefon Harris, Jim Gailloreto and Paul Wertico augment the broad array of experiences that present more than one possibility.