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The Messenger


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Audio CD, April 8, 1997
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Nature Boy 6:09$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. April In Paris 5:11$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. The Beauty Of All Things 8:07$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. The Dance 1:33$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Prayer For Mr. Davis 6:03$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Endless 4:48$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Tanya Jean10:16$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. It's Just A Thing 4:31$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Gingerbread Boy 5:01$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Prelude To A Kiss 5:26$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen11. Time Of The Season 5:53$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen12. The Messenger 9:01$1.29  Buy MP3 

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Grammy winner Kurt Elling is among the world's foremost jazz vocalists. He has won every DownBeat Critics Poll for the last fourteen years and has been named "Male Singer of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times in that same span. Every one of Elling's ten albums has been nominated for a Grammy.

Elling's rich baritone spans four octaves and ... Read more in Amazon's Kurt Elling Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 8, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • ASIN: B000005H6S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,356 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Madeline Knowlton on April 18, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I have said to many of my friends that are also hip to Elling's musical prowess and lyrical prolific ness that this particular side is my least favorite of all that he has put out so far. That having been said, this is an amazing record. Kurt is the voice of jazz singing today. And what a hip voice to have too. As an aspiring jazz singer myself, I cannot thank Mr. Elling enough for what he has done for jazz today. In fact, he is the reason I got into vocal jazz in the first place. Here's the breakdown of his second side.
1: Nature Boy, What a great cut! "The greatest joy, you will ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return," he sings softly as a ballad the first time through as the rhythm section bursts into an up-tempo bossa-like even 8th rhythm. His scat solo on this is like non-other.
2: April In Paris. Funk time. The groovy trumpet is a wonderful addition to the groove that is set to spice up this swingin' ol' chestnut.
3: The Beauty of All Things. This is the beginning of a three song suite by Elling and his pianist Laurence Hobgood. It's has a very spiritual fusion feel to it. Kurt does one of his trademark rants of simultaneous melodic and lyrical improvisation even quoting a Keith Jarret lick from his song Questar.
4: The Dance. A sudo-instrumental segue from cut 3 to cut 5. A strictly Hobgood composition. Celtic feel here.
5: Prayer for Mr. Davis. I read in a review that in '91 after hearing of the [demise] of Miles Davis, Hobgood wrote a beautiful piano ballad in his memory. Elling's magically pinned lyric transforms this song into a somber yet peaceful musical wake.
6: Endless. It is at this point that I should mention that this whole side is reportedly based on a two set show the band had done.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is a voice in which one can hear reflections of a number of vocalists, namely Jon Hendericks and especially, Frank Sinatra; the difference being that his voice is much more salty and he swings harder than Frank ever did. He seems to get inside of a pitch, very simular to that of a instrumentalist. This gentleman is the next male vocalist who will join that elite group of jazz vocalists (Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, Al Jarreau, Bobby McFerrin)! If you're ever in Chicago, check him out at the Green Mill on Broadway and Lawrence...........
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By gtra1n VINE VOICE on March 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
As Kurt Elling's discography grows, the quality of this record must be superceded by last year's marvelous "Flirting With Twilight," but this earlier CD will not disappoint. It's a real showcasse of his strengths at vocalese - a truly incredible 'Tanya Jean,' set to the original Dexter Gordon solo off 'One Flight Up' - his original lyrics - a beautiful, personal expression on 'The Messenger' - and his sense of humor - the hilarious hipster-jive of 'Just a Thing.' His duet with Cassandra Wilson is very nice, the two voices a rich blend, but it really shows their divergent paths, with Elling standing out as the only jazz singer of the two. The bland, smooth-jazz funk of 'April in Paris' is the only lackluster point of the whole record, but a minor flaw when listening to the leading young jazz singer. And what a singer . . .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By 47 on August 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD
In the world of popular music, it's rare for bands to be successful enough to make a second album... even rarer is when that album surpasses the first. For the second time, Kurt shows that music is very alive within him, as well as within the incredible band with which he performs. His ability to scat is much improved from his first effort, and all the other aspects of his musicality are in top form. Nature Boy is a perfect pick for the first track as it seems to accurately show off almost every aspect of the Kurt Elling and band experience, April In Paris is put in a new light, Time of the Season is put in a new dimension with the help of Casandra, and the rest is delightfully spectacular.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rick Cornell VINE VOICE on June 30, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Listening to this album is like watching Barry Bonds play baseball. You will hear (see) some strikeouts; but you will also hear (see) enough "shots into McCovey Cove" to convince you that both deserve to be in their respective Halls of Fame.
The most immediately impressive piece is "Ginger Bread Boy." This is the finest meld of free jazz and vocal jazz I've ever heard. The way Elling scats here is just sensational; listening to this made me hear Mingus, Dannie Richmond, Don Pullen and Eric Dolphy--with Elling doing a knock-off of Dolphy.
I was also blown away by "Tanya Jean"--a vocalese creation based on a Dexter Gordon tune about a "spiritual siren", and "Nature Boy", a hard-bending improv over a 4 beat with accents on "2" and "3" that takes the tune way beyond where Nat King Cole originally took it.
The strikeouts? Mainly, Elling has a 3-octave range (including falsetto), but too often he tries to push it to four, and is singing out of his range. I was also somewhat disappointed by Elling and Cassandra Wilson's cover of the Zombie's "Time of the Season"--mainly because it was written too low for Ms. Wilson. It was great, but I expected sensational.
OTOH, I'm very impressed with Elling's poetry. He does beat poems "It's Just a Thing" and the title cut, which is far more than a meandering bass with "I'm too cool to care" lyrics strung together. In fact, "The Messenger" has to do with the premature death of Elling's biological brother. Two more home runs, IMO.
In sum, the high points of this album are so high, that it's an essential for every connoisseur of vocal jazz. If you are one, you will get over the album's unevennness very quickly.
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