Thursday, February 3, 2011
Kurt Elling shares his thoughts about the songs on The Gate:
1. “Matte Kudasai”
I have been a King Crimson fan since I was in college. This reminds me of some of my happiest times and I always wanted a reason to record this song and tip my cap to them. John Patitucci came up with the lead line and I think it only required two takes. It was one of the first pieces we recorded, and it set the tone for the album.
2. “Steppin’ Out”
Bob Belden had been working with Nicholas Payton and he played me Nick’s big band version of this Joe Jackson song. It had a really swinging atmosphere that I wished to emulate.
3. “Come Running to Me”
My daughter, who is 5, is so inspiring to me. This is my gift to her.
4. “Norwegian Wood”
Pianist Laurence Hobgood came up with a terrific arrangement. I knew I wanted a guitar, and John McLean’s brooding, thoughtful solo was perfect.
5. “Blue in Green”
We approached this with Miles Davis in mind. It’s not a lot of notes, but it’s the right notes. The changes – written by Davis and Bill Evans – are so beautiful and flexible, and being able to double up on the vocals is something we can never do live. There are several versions of lyrics for this composition, and I chose to go with the best one out there – courtesy of Al Jarreau.
6. “Samurai Cowboy”
This was first recorded 15 years ago on Marc Johnson’s “Bass Desires.” For me, this is true vocalese.
7. “After the Love Has Gone”
Laurence and I were in Los Angeles to do some recording. The session started at midnight and this Earth, Wind & Fire gem just felt like the right one to try.
8. “Golden Lady”
I don’t know how you can be a contemporary musician and not love Stevie Wonder and his brilliance. I strive to do songs that are not so obvious, and the musicians were dubious when I suggested it, but I had worked it out on the road.
9. “Nighttown, Lady Bright”
Nightlife is so significant in the jazz experience. You perform at night, you finish the gig and then drive off or take the train. You see so many empty cities, with just a few people out – slick streets and the things Duke Ellington writes about in the spoken word portion of the song. Part of being a jazz musician means investigating jazz history and not only remembering the beautiful parts, but conveying them in a way that helps people fall in love with the jazz idiom as well.
All I can say is I can't wait to open 'The Gate' :)
Thank you for stopping by,