Top Quotes from Kurt Elling

It’s true that I’m not known as a crooner or balladeer. I’m known for a more crusading or quixotic temperament.

Kurt Elling

I consider myself very fortunate. I have a beautiful wife who supports my work and is raising our daughter when I’m out on the road.

Kurt Elling

You don’t know what bravery is until you overcome fear.

Kurt Elling

It’s a lovely thing to have people in any circumstance appreciate your work.

Kurt Elling

Grammy nominations are certainly pleasant, but you can forget about them and lead a perfectly happy life – provided you have the approval of the musicians you work with.

Kurt Elling

Man, I just feel so fortunate to be a jazz musician at all. I have a hard time thinking of it any other way. It’s such a fulfilling vocation. I love it.

Kurt Elling

I like the power and versatility of a big band and how an orchestra can vary the dynamics from very loud to very quiet, and SNJO covers those bases.

Kurt Elling

The great jazz and jazz-influenced singers carry themselves with a certain panache and a certain elegance and, for lack of a better word, self-confidence.

Kurt Elling

When improvisation is properly applied, it is compositional thinking, sped way up.

Kurt Elling

Music is a physical expression that has a physical impact upon the listener. Sound travels in waves through the air. This is not abstract. This is scientific fact. And it makes physical contact with the eardrum… and with the heart… and with the rest of the body.

Kurt Elling

My goal is to be really incredible by the time I’m 70.

Kurt Elling

I try to stick with things that I can sing with honesty.

Kurt Elling

I’m a goof, man.

Kurt Elling

Sometimes people have this notion that improvisation is simply intuitive leaping into the unknown.

Kurt Elling

Salacious? I suppose every once in a while the salacious thing is not a bad thing. It’s kind of monochromatic if that’s all you do.

Kurt Elling

Listening to something without being present is different from being there in the flesh.

Kurt Elling

I spend upwards of 200 nights a year on the road.

Kurt Elling

Every record is a gate of a certain kind for me.

Kurt Elling

That’s the thing: There are so many art songs in jazz. It’s a much more rich experience for the singer than people think.

Kurt Elling

I’ve got more low notes than I had when I started.

Kurt Elling

I hope that I’m also maturing emotionally as a human being as things go on.

Kurt Elling

I listened to a lot of King Crimson back in the day.

Kurt Elling

I haven’t been afraid of John Coltrane or Miles Davis or Bill Evans or Wayne Shorter or Herbie Hancock. Why would I be afraid of the Beatles?

Kurt Elling

I’m a jazz musician, and I really wanted to not miss an opportunity to have the full connection to jazz.

Kurt Elling

The musicians in Chicago gave me my vocation, but New York calls to a jazz musician, for sure. You want to test your mettle.

Kurt Elling

Part of my joy as a singer is to give gifts to people, and one way I try to connect to them is to add something in French or German or whatever.

Kurt Elling

As improvisers, we’re acting as composers in front of people.

Kurt Elling

It must be a hellish thing to know what’s possible in music, to be hearing things all the time and not have an appropriate outlet for them.

Kurt Elling

There’s a spiritual complement to any attempt at transposing a commitment to humanity through music or art.

Kurt Elling

I really thought I was gonna have a straight gig. But these jazz musicians put their arms around me time and again and said, ‘Hey, young fella, you’re one of us. Come with us.’ That’s a big deal when you’re young and looking for your way in the world.

Kurt Elling

You work very hard on the lyrics. Getting them to fit the contours of improvised melodies.

Kurt Elling

We live in a society where it’s cool to be criminal.

Kurt Elling

Chicago has a burly, action-oriented but still self-assured and relaxed confidence to its stride. The city has a lot of wide-open space and all the possibilities that suggests. There’s a lot of horizontal grandeur here.

Kurt Elling

In New York, the drummers rush for a reason – because there’s so much energy crackling through everything in that city and so many collisions at a highly accelerated rate.

Kurt Elling

Out in L.A., things relax even further than they do in Chicago. There’s such a looseness to it, and there’s a potentially refreshing advantage to that.

Kurt Elling

We all know that jazz demands a cultivation of the mind.

Kurt Elling

Of course we all know when music’s too much in the head, and we define our greatest players by the way they are able to communicate directly from their emotional selves.

Kurt Elling

I’ve tried to learn as much as I can about the great jazz singers to understand what makes them important, vital artists, but there is always something more to learn.

Kurt Elling

Why limit yourself to one discipline or field of study?

Kurt Elling

Each of the CDs prior to ‘Flirting With Twilight’ were more like roller-coaster rides.

Kurt Elling

My intellect was quickened at divinity school, and my abilities to discern were strengthened, and that’s always valuable.

Kurt Elling

I try to sleep as much as I can. I drink a lot of water. I practice consistently and just try to be ready for the gig.

Kurt Elling

The singer is always an ambassador of music.

Kurt Elling

I want to be the jazz singer.

Kurt Elling

A lot of the commercial world wants to bank in on the cachet that jazz brings.

Kurt Elling

People want to have access to jazz because it has a vibe that’s very strong.

Kurt Elling

I don’t want to take it easy.

Kurt Elling

You don’t just let a guy drop off the earth and not come together with everybody who knew him and loved him and respected him. You try to do it the right way.

Kurt Elling

If you’re going to be transparent, you’re going to have to let the music come that wants to come.

Kurt Elling

I know how hard it’s been for me to get my thing out there.

Kurt Elling

It’s easy to get tired of religious fundamentalists. They’re such a bore. They have no sense of mystery. It’s a drag, man.

Kurt Elling

A lot of people are put off by the idea of scat singing. Either that or it’s something to be made fun of.

Kurt Elling