SuperBlue (feat. Charlie Hunter)

SuperBlue (feat. Charlie Hunter)

Vocalist Kurt Elling keeps revealing new facets and capabilities on the heels of inspired outings with Danilo Perez, Branford Marsalis, Brad Mehldau, and others. On SuperBlue, he reunites with guitarist and former Blue Note labelmate Charlie Hunter, whose eight-string hybrid guitar remains utterly distinctive, funky, and modern, able to cover bass and chordal functions at once. Drummer Corey Fonville and bassist/keyboardist DJ Harrison, both from Butcher Brown, deepen the grooves and fill out the sonic space. Elling, a Chicago bebopper at heart, heir to a vocalese tradition embodied by the late Jon Hendricks, always manages to channel his roots while casting the widest stylistic net, as is true of this electric soul-jazz collaboration (made remotely due to COVID). The new, cowritten songs capture Elling’s bluesy theatricality, and the readings of Carla Bley’s “Lawns” (“Endless Lawns”), Tom Waits’ “Circus,” The Roots & Cody ChesnuTT’s “The Seed,” and Wayne Shorter’s “Aung San Suu Kyi” (“Where to Find It”) bristle with contemporary flavor.

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