In his column “The Gig” in the December 2009 issue of JazzTimes, Nate Chinen called vocalist Kurt Elling “the most influential jazz vocalist of our time.” Since his arrival onto the national jazz scene in 1995, Elling has recorded nine albums, all of which have been nominated for Grammy awards. His latest album The Gate was produced by pop maven Don Was. Earlier this year, Elling made his first appearance on The Jazz Cruise, where he performed multiple sets with his working group of Laurence Hobgood, John McLean, Clark Sommers and Kobie Watkins, rarely even repeating a song. A hit among the cruise regulars, he also sat in with Ann Hampton-Callaway and other artists and sang with the All-Star big band.
During the cruise, JazzTimes set up a make-shift video production studio in “The Boardroom,” a small room on the second deck aft of the M/S Westerdam. Throughout the week, a succession of artists-including John Pizzarelli, Freddy Cole, Ann Hampton-Callaway, Don Braden, Ken Peplowski, Wycliffe Gordon, Bill Charlap & Renee Rosnes and many others-came in to talk about the cruise, jazz education and their own projects. We are posting these interviews at jazztimes.com over the next few months. You can also see more of these video interviews at the JazzTimes YouTube channel.