Kurt Elling was smoking last night... he was in the words of my nearly hip uncle "bad to the bone". His vocals were flawless and he as it turns out has a great stage presence. I found his manner to be very entertaining and engaging. It was like listening to a CD track it was so 'right on'.
The band was likewise amazing - drums, stand up bass and grand piano were all equally virtuoso in their soloing as well as their groovelicious time keeping. The swing was swingingly swung. The band had a 12 hour flight from Chicago... and anyone who has flown to or from Chicago knows that a 12 hour trip in either direction is never a good thing. They literally dropped their things at the hotel without checking in so they could get to the Folly on time and even in their rush they just nailed every aspect of the performance. The vocal highlight was hearing Elling sing note for note an entire John Coltrane sax solo to words he'd written for his daughter. He has got a serious set of lungs not to mention an incredibly articulate skill for scatting.
Also I was reminded of just how excellent the acoustics of the Folly theater are. For an encore Elling came out without the band and without using a mic, improvised a 4 minute or so scat solo and from the top of the balcony I could hear every note perfectly.
For a pretty good idea of what we heard last night (stylistically speaking) check out the samples at the bottom of this page: http://www.amazon.com/Live-Chicago-Kurt-Elling/dp/B00003W87S/ref=pd_bbs_sr_5?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1197758934&sr=8-5