The Rapidian

Kurt Elling Jazz Quintet, special guests to perform at St. Cecilia's

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Multi-nominated GRAMMY winner Jazz Vocalist Kurt Elling will appear on Thursday, March 22, 2018 for the final Jazz Series Concert this season at St. Cecilia Music Center. He will be performing with his quintet and special guests from Chicago, Trumpeter Marquis Hill and Saxophonist John Wojceichowski
Kurt Elling

Kurt Elling /Kurt Elling

Kurt Elling Performs at St. Cecilia Music Center

March 22, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.

A section $45

B section $40

Tickets - 616-459-2224 or online at

“Kurt Elling is the standout male vocalist of our time,” according to The New York Times



His New CD "The Questions" will be available at the concert

His New CD "The Questions" will be available at the concert /Kurt Elling

Kurt Elling won the DownBeat Critics Poll for fourteen consecutive years and has been named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times. All of Elling’s ten albums have been nominated for GRAMMY’S. The New York Times declared, “Elling is the standout male vocalist of our time.” The Washington Post added, “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.”

As testament to Elling’s energy and captivating stage presence, in 2017 he performed 102 shows in 69 cities in 18 countries on 4 continents. He flew 145,000 miles, including four trips to Europe and one each to South Africa and China. From January through July, Elling toured with the Branford Marsalis Quartet, performing 62 concerts of Upward Spiral, their Grammy-nominated 2016 recording. Upward Spiral also won the 2017 German ECHO Jazz Prize for International Ensemble of the Year.

Elling’s spectacular legacy as a highly energetic and prolific performer is demonstrated by his GRAMMY nominations over the last 19 years:  Best Vocal Album 8 times, Best Jazz Vocal Performance 3 times, and Best Instrumental Arrangement for Accompanying a Vocalist twice. He won the GRAMMY for Best Jazz Vocal Album, Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman released in 2009.

Concert tickets for Kurt Elling are $40 and $45 and can be purchased by calling St. Cecilia Music Center at 616-459-2224 or visiting the box office at 24 Ransom Ave. NE. Tickets can also be purchased online at  A pre-concert reception with wine / hors d'oeuvres is available by reservation for $15 and begins at 6:30 pm. A post-concert party with dessert, coffee and wine is open to all ticket-holders. The Questions Elling’s newest CD will be available for purchase with his previous releases after the concert.

The Questions, his newest studio recording, is Elling’s musical response to this moment in history and the widespread anxiety of our times. It touches artfully on challenges – personal, political, global, spiritual, existential – and on hopes and aspirations for the future. Co-produced by NEA Jazz Master and celebrated saxophonist Branford Marsalis, The Questions unfolds into a rich and irresistible musical conversation, as Elling encourages people to join him in living with big questions and finding courage to face fears and seek answers. It opens with Elling's powerful version of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and gently closes with the wistful yearning of "Skylark." His vibrant and surprising choice of songs is a journey through searching inquiries and thoughtful responses that challenge and inspire, touching on heartache and healing, sorrow and redemption, and the transforming power of love.

Elling’s last appearance in Grand Rapids at St. Cecilia Music Center was in 2007. For more information visit:

Kurt Elling - Bio

GRAMMY winner Kurt Elling is among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. He won the DownBeat Critics Poll for fourteen consecutive years and was 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 features both astonishing technical mastery and emotional depth. His repertoire includes original compositions and modern interpretations of standards, all of which are springboards for inspired improvisation, scatting, spoken word and poetry.

Elling was the Artist-in-Residence for the Singapore and Monterey Jazz Festivals. He has also written multi-disciplinary works for The Steppenwolf Theatre and the City of Chicago. The Obama Administration’s first state dinner featured Elling in a command performance.

Elling is a renowned artist of vocalese–the writing and performing of words over recorded improvised jazz solos. The natural heir to jazz pioneers Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure and Jon Hendricks, Elling has set his own lyrics to the improvised solos of Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny. He often incorporates images and references from writers such as Rilke, Rumi, Neruda and Proust into his work. The late poet and Bollingen Prize winner Robert Creeley wrote, “Kurt Elling takes us into a world of sacred particulars. His words are informed by a powerful poetic spirit.” Said Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States, “In Kurt Elling’s art, the voice of jazz gives a new spiritual presence to the ancient, sweet and powerful bond between poetry and music.”

Kurt Elling has toured vigorously throughout his career, thrilling audiences throughout the world. In that time, he has led his own ensemble and has collaborated with many of the world’s finest orchestras.



St. Cecilia Music Center’s mission is to promote the study, appreciation and performance of music in order to enrich the lives of West Michigan residents. The Center fulfills this mission by presenting visiting world-class artists in concert, providing music education for all ages through our School of Music and preserving a historic building for musical activities and community events



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