COSTA MESA, CA – Segerstrom Center for the arts presents Grammy® Award-winning vocalist Kurt Elling in a special holiday set “The Beautiful Day” – Kurt Elling Sings Christmas for two performances on December 15 at 7 pm and 9 pm. Declared by The New York Times as “the standout male jazz vocalist of our time,” Kurt Elling returns to the Center with a special program that will feature a repertoire of songs from his holiday album, The Beautiful Day. Elling says, “I knew I didn’t want to make a ‘religious’ record, just as I knew I didn’t want to make a standard, swingin’ jazzy Christmas. I’m trying to expand my consciousness and embrace the goodness of the season, and I want to include everybody. For me, Christmas is a time of consideration, of pondering mysteries.” Inventive and fresh, this very special program reimagines the sounds of Christmas, mixing traditional carols decked out in new arrangements with songs that are revelations and rediscovered treats. Elling wraps the universal themes of hope, light, wonder, mystery, and goodwill in musical packages full of delightful surprises.
The Washington Post declared, “Since the mid-1990s, no singer in jazz has been as daring, dynamic or interesting as Kurt Elling. With his soaring vocal flights, his edgy lyrics and sense of being on a musical mission, he has come to embody the creative spirit in jazz.” Indeed, Grammy® winner and 12-time Grammy nominee Kurt Elling has been named Male Singer of the Year by the DownBeat’s Critics Poll for 14 consecutive years and by The Jazz Journalists Association on eight occasions. He has also been awarded two German Echo Awards, two Prix Billie Holiday from the Academie du Jazz in Paris, the Dutch Edison and the Edison Oeuvrepreijs. He has been named Jazz Ambassador by the government of Poland.
Elling’s rich baritone spans four octaves and features both technical mastery and emotional depth. A close protégé of late master-singers Jon Hendricks and Mark Murphy, Elling has collaborated with many of the finest instrumentalists in the jazz world, including pianists Kenny Barron (coming to Segerstrom Center November 3, 2018), Joey Calderazzo, Bill Charlap, Fred Hersch, Harold Mabern and Brad Mehldau. Elling has also worked in deep creative partnership with saxophonists Branford Marsalis, Bob Mintzer, Tommy Smith, Ernie Watts and the late Von Freeman. Her performed twice at The White House for President Barack Obama and is a former vice-chairman of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences’ board of trustees.
Kurt Elling’s repertoire includes original compositions and modern interpretations of standards, all of which are springboards for inspired improvisation, scatting, spoken word, and poetry. As a lyricist, Elling incorporates images and references from writers such as Rilke, Rumi, Neruda and Proust into his work. The late poet Robert Creeley wrote, “Kurt Elling takes us into a world of sacred particulars. His words are informed by a powerful poetic spirit.” U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, concurred, writing that, “In Elling’s art, the voice of jazz gives a new spiritual presence to the ancient, sweet and powerful bond between poetry and music.” Jon Hendricks, the greatest of all jazz lyricists, said simply, “He is my son.”
Segerstrom Center for the Arts is an acclaimed arts institution as well as a beautiful multi-disciplinary cultural campus. It is committed to supporting artistic excellence, offering unsurpassed experiences and to engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the unique power of live performance and a diverse array of inspiring arts-based education and community engagement programs.
“THE BEAUTIFUL DAY” – KURT ELLING SINGS CHRISTMAS”
Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Samueli Theater 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA
Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 7:00pm and 9:00pm
Tickets – Start at $69
In person – The Box Office
600 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily
Online – SCFTA.org
Phone – (714) 556-2787
Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily
Group Sales – (714) 755-0236
The eleventh week and ninth year series of Sunset Jazz at Newport finished Wednesday evening, September 19, 2018 with the exceptional big band of Tom Kubis wowing the entire audience. Kubis has had his band and many of his member musicians for thirty years. He has written many, many arrangements over the years and his band has a solid reputation for swinging in earnest all of the time. The band: Rusty Higgins, Eric Marienthal (alto saxes), Tom Kubis, (tenor sax and leader), Jay Mason (bari sax), Dave Richards, Gary Halopoff, Stan Martin, Jeff Bunnell (trumpets), Francisco Torres, Fred Simmons, Joey Sellers and Rich Bullock (trombones), Jim Cox (piano), Mike Higgins (guitar), Kevin Axt (electric and acoustic bass), Ray Brinker (drums) and Nicole Kubis (vocals).
The Kubis band played the U.S.A. “Star Spangled Banner” honoring the duties of Rusty Higgins on alto sax opening the show, a lovely performance for all to enjoy. Next, a splendid version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” done in up tempo by the full band and giving leader Tom Kubis opportunity to play an early solo for this classic, along with an additional trumpet solo from Jeff Bunnell and trombone solo from Fred Simmons. This concert was fully packed with audience patrons enjoying this big band from the beginning and giving a lot of periodic applause, not only for the tunes but all the solos as well.
Rich Bullock played his trombone with the band for the wonderful tune, “In a Mellow Tone.” A big band always makes a stellar tune like this sound super great. Bullock’s bass trombone work fit in exactly right. Tom Kubis introduced his vocalist daughter, Nicole Kubis. Nicole has been singing with the band quite a long while and was very well received. She sang a famous standard, “Secret Love,” followed with a second number, “Come Dance with Me” with solo on trumpet from Gary Halopoff. Both of these two selections shined remarkably well.
In “My Romance” Rusty Higgins was the featured soloist, another great band arrangement from Kubis. Trombonist Torres played a great part in Juan Tizol’s “Caravan.” This was one of the best numbers of the night. Brinker played a long accentuated drum solo and a long cadenza finished the tune performed by Torres. Next, Dave Moody (t/s) was featured on another impressive Kubis arrangement of “Teach Me Tonight” with a fine piano solo from Jim Cox. A lot more audience applause was given throughout all parts of this concert. Ending the first set, a tune titled “SMB,” “Super Mario Brothers” theme, a rocking number with meaningful solos by Martin (trumpet), Marienthal (sax), Mason (bari sax) and Mike Higgins (guitar).
The second set moved very well, starting off with a tricky title, “Pop Goes the Weasel.” The band once again, featuring Moody (t/s) and Torres (t-bone) played not only tricky title, but a tricky arrangement as well. A rhythmic “Does Anyone Out There Still Boogaloo?” Marienthal and Sellers gave extended solos to again, a very rhythmic composition.
Nicole Kubis sang two more very groovy numbers: “There’ll Be Some Changes Made Today” and the well-known “Well Ok, You Win.” Nicole did some excellent scatting in the latter tune. Bassist, Kevin Axt was featured on his electric bass performing the lovely standard, “Stella by Starlight,” with the band backing him to a tee that included a well-placed solo by Higgins on guitar! An original and unusual piece was performed, “Cat Walk,” with very effective sound effects from the band. Stan Martin and Francisco Torres were featured once again.
Closing this two hour concert was a long remembered staple, “Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home.” Soloing were: Cox (Piano) with a long cadenza, Bullock (Bass T-Bone), Sellers (T-Bone) and Torres (T-Bone).
The audience loved this brilliant band and gave them all a standing ovation.
While jazz patrons were leaving the Kubis band played the theme from the movie and TV series ” “Naked Gun,” “Police Squad.”
The Tom Kubis Band has a regular gig on Monday evenings in Long Beach at the Gas Lamp on the fourth Monday of each month except December. See the Kubis website: www.tomkubis.com
Many patrons from this year’s Sunset Jazz at Newport Ninth Year Series are looking forward to the Nineteenth Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party, February 14th through February 17th, 2019. See their website: www.NewportBeachJazzParty.com .
Glenn A. Mitchell