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Review Mon Apr 20 2009

Review: Kurt Elling @ The Green Mill

"Make me sound taller."

I'm sure not every sound engineer gets that as a request, but Saturday night it seemed apropos, as Chicago native Kurt Elling took the stage at the Green Mill, a space not known for having good sight lines when the place is at capacity. Well, not if you're shorter than six feet and change.

With showtime at 8pm, I got there at 7, after having a tasty dinner at Crew next door, and the room is three-quarters full already. At 7:30, admittance was being halted as apparently they'd hit the occupancy limit and are doing the "one person leaves means that one can come in" thing. Still, there are 10-20 people waiting outside for the rest of the night.

The cause for such an immense crowd can be traced to a couple of factors. As a regular host in weekly shows at the Green Mill, Elling enjoyed nice-sized audiences that only got larger and larger as he put out more and more product on the Blue Note label. Those weekly spots ended when he began to tour extensively overseas in 2006 or so. He also hasn't performed in Chicago proper since around early 2007, with last year's show at Ravinia with Ramsey Lewis was canceled. A steady demand and no supply makes fans very anxious. The Saturday show was the second night of his appearance, and I'm told Friday was just as full.

Piano virtuoso and Elling collaborator Laurence Hobgood, bassist Clark Sommers, and drummer Ulysses Owens provided the foundation for Elling and special guest saxophonist Ernie Watts, whose career has spanned four decades. Hobgood's first solo album, When the Heart Dances, is being released today.

Through two sets and a little under three hours, the standing room only crowd was treated to selections from Elling's last album, Nightmoves, as well as a few surprises (Steppin' Out, Golden Lady) and selections from his new project, which he says will be out in the summer.

Considering the demand, a $12 cover was a deal, and I spent three hours standing up, but enjoyed the music immensely. It's probably best if he not stay away too long again, if only for the sake of the growing number of people who want to hear him live.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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