Dedicated to You
Adding words to Coltrane’s A Love Supreme? Not a good idea. Why mess with it? You may as well add a tape loop of explosions and screaming to Guernica.
To use the parlance of a friend, Kurt Elling’s got huevos. He stuck the landing with Coltrane on his 2003 Man in the Air CD. He’s also gone in the other direction and added music to words - Kenneth Rexroth’s Married Blues, for example, and even Whitman’s Song of Myself. For anyone else, reinterpreting the gold standard of jazz ballad records would seem foolish. But I think Kurt is up to it.
The “Dedicated to You” tour - with Kurt and saxophonist Ernie Watts - will stop at the Eastman Theater on October 19th. It’s billed as a creative re-imagination of the only time John Coltrane ever collaborated with a vocalist – the legendary 1963 recording with Johnny Hartman.
You can hear a preview this weekend on What’s New, Saturday at 9pm on AM 1370 and Sunday at 8pm on WRUR 88.5 FM.