Song of the Week No. 5 - Kurt Elling - The Waking

A good concert is just about my favourite thing - the magic of a beautiful venue with my beautiful wife to witness beautiful music.  As Nancy said, it is food for the soul.  Especially when you're in the caring hands of an artist like the charming Kurt Elling.  Even more especially when he's joined by the wonderful Melbourne Symphony Orchestra who, under the guidance of Ben Northey, really can swing.

So many delights!  Alongside his fabulous scatting and other spectacles, two poignant moments stayed with me: a lilting melody from Arturo Sandoval lyricised by Kurt (featured on his brand new album Passion World), and a gorgeous duet with bassist Clark Sommers called The Waking.  That's the one I feature today, if only because I have recently reacquainted myself with the double bass after several decades apart.  It's a wonderfully lyrical and graceful bass part, not very "jazzy", and is a perfect foil for Kurt's supple baritone, bringing real feeling to a Theodore Roethke poem.  Kurt's gift for vocal gymnastics is legendary, and it's on show here, but what sets him apart is his total respect for the lyric and the message.

This particular version from Later with Jools Holland features the original bassist, the late Rob Amster.  I can just make out a little of what Rob's playing (if anyone has access to a clearer copy, let me know) and am already trying to work it out.  After that, I just have to find a local equivalent of Kurt...


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