Grammy winner Kurt Elling is among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. He has won every DownBeat Critics Poll for the last thirteen years and has been named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times in that same span. Every one of Elling’s nine 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.
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.”
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.
Recently named both “Artist of the Year” and “Composer of the Year” by Washington DC’s City Paper, Mark G. Meadows continues to make an impression on the DC jazz scene as an accomplished jazz pianist, vocalist, composer, and jazz educator.
From August 2 - September 11, 2016, Mark will make his acting debut as Jelly Roll Morton in the DC premiere of Jelly's Last Jam at Signature Theatre. Mark's piano and vocal chops are a natural fit for the role of one of the most legendary and notorious jazz figures.
Mark’s most recently released album, To the People, reflects his passion for social justice. Through lyrics, harmony, and improvisation, Mark's message is simple: to bring love, peace, and understanding to the people. Mark’s performances reflect his versatile musical background, encompassing jazz, R&B, gospel, and rock, to interconnect every walk of life.