The Gate

The Gate

by Kurt EllingKurt Elling


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Since the 1990s, Kurt Elling has proved a most innovative jazz singer. His recordings -- particularly The Messenger, Man in the Air, and Nightmoves -- also reveal him to be a modern jazz visionary. On The Gate, Elling presents nine songs gathered from rock, pop, soul, and jazz. Produced by Don Was, Elling is accompanied by longtime pianist Laurence Hobgood, saxophonist Bob Mintzer, guitarist John McLean, bassist John Pattitucci, alternating drummers Terreon Gulley and Kobie Watkins, and percussionist Lenny Castro. The material here is evocative of Elling's all encompassing view of jazz as an ever-innovative popular music. It opens with a subtle, deeply emotive and poetic reading of King Crimson's "Matte Kudasai." Commencing with only Patitucci's upright bass before Gulley and Hobgood enter from the edges, Elling croons languidly at the upper reaches of his range. McLean's guitar is used economically and delicately until his solo. Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out" extends beyond the realm of the author's Cole Porter-influenced pop, transforming it into a warm, swinging, cool jazz number. The sparsity of Hobgood's phrasing underscoring Elling's voice shows remarkable restraint; Castro's hand percussion counters Watkins' hi-hat groove and makes it pop. Herbie Hancock's "Come Running to Me" changes shape entirely, from its funky fretless bass and vocoder roots comes a bona fide soul-jazz midtempo ballad. Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady" backs off the funk; but the exacting interplay between Hobgood and Gulley keeps the soul intact; Elling reinvents it as an acoustic jazz ballad. The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" subtly restructures the tune's rhythmic accents without forsaking a note of its melody. Earth, Wind & Fire's "After the Love Has Gone" is transformed into a limpid, nearly ethereal tone poem. The reading of Miles Davis' "Blue in Green" is based on Al Jarreau's arrangement, but it opens up more: space and texture grant his voice room to explore the melody's interior. "Samurai Cowboy," an original co-written with Marc Johnson, features Elling's multi-tracked vocals in a chanted chorus, underscoring a syncopated blues, highlighted by Mintzer's gritty fills. "Nighttown, Lady Bright" closes it as poetic, post-beat improvisation with Elling reciting as well as singing. The Gate presents Elling at the top of his game; it is a song cycle that is mesmerizing and mysterious as it is provocative and compelling.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/08/2011
Label: Concord Records
UPC: 0888072312302
catalogNumber: 31230
Rank: 51770

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kurt Elling   Primary Artist,Vocals
Bob Mintzer   Tenor Saxophone
John Patitucci   Bass
Lenny Castro   Percussion
Laurence Hobgood   Piano
John McLean   Guitar
Terreon Gully   Percussion,Drums
Kobie Watkins   Drums

Technical Credits

Jarreau   Composer
Adrian Belew   Composer
Bill Bruford   Composer
Joe Jackson   Composer
John Lennon   Composer
Paul McCartney   Composer
Bob Belden   Arranger
Miles Davis   Composer
Don Grolnick   Composer
Herbie Hancock   Composer
Marc Johnson   Composer
John Patitucci   Arranger
David Foster   Composer
Bill Champlin   Composer
Chris Dunn   Arranger,Executive Producer
Robert Fripp   Composer
Jay Graydon   Composer
Tony Levin   Composer
Don Was   Arranger,Producer
Allee Willis   Composer
Stevie Wonder   Composer
Kurt Elling   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Laurence Hobgood   Arranger,Producer
John McLean   Arranger
Steve Schapiro   Back Cover Photo,Inside Photo
Chris Faust   Cover Photo
Terreon Gully   Arranger
Seth Presant   Engineer
Chris Allen   Engineer
Frank Martin   Composer

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