One of Kurt’s many collaborators is Fred Hersch, another of the headliners in this year’s Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Kurt sang
on Fred’s 2005 album Leaves Of Grass, a collection of Walt Whitman’s poems set to original music. When asked if he could make a nobel call on Fred to play any piece of music Kurt has heard him play, straight away Kurt recalled: “Fred recorded a version of the ‘Star Crossed Lovers’, a beautiful Billy Strayhorn Duke Ellington composition. He did it so profoundly and so wonderfully. I would have to make that the one I’d announce for him to play.”
For a songwriter who writes projects for other people as well as himself, he still starts off imagining them for solo performance: “Usually, I think of myself first when writing a song, but I also do much larger work such as The Big Blind, which is an old-time radio drama.”
Kurt Elling plays Cork City Hall on Saturday, October 26, at 8pm.