Jazz Singer Elling Expands Musical Horizons on New CD (via ABC)

Kurt Elling, “Passion World” (Concord Jazz)

On “Passion World,” jazz singer Kurt Elling expands his musical horizons way beyond his previous CD, “1619 Broadway-the Brill Building Project,” which focused on classic pop tunes by the songwriting teams housed in a single Manhattan building.

Here he uses his expressive, rich baritone to perform music from three continents in five languages, adapting to the jazz idiom an eclectic collection of 14 songs reflecting how different cultures express romance and passion.

On the traditional side, Elling offers a dolorous rendition of “Loch Tay Boat Song,” a Scottish ballad of unrequited love, accompanied by a soulful tenor sax solo by Tommy Smith of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. Brahms’ “Nicht Wandle, Mein Licht,” sung in German, starts with Elling singing it as a classical lied, accompanied by Germany’s WDR radio orchestra, before turning it into a soft jazz ballad.

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