Kurt Elling Cocktail Hour: 25th Anniversary Virtual Concert Tour
Grammy® Award-winning vocalist Kurt Elling will launch his Cocktail Hour: 25th
Anniversary Virtual Concert Tour, a series of five themed livestream concerts from the stage of Chicago’s iconic nightclub, the Green Mill, Friday, October 9, 2020, in two performances at 3 and 8pm (CT). Excited to finally return to live performance after months of pandemic-related silence, the 75-minute concerts commemorate the silver anniversary of Elling’s Blue Note debut, Close Your Eyes. Then, with “Saturday Night at the Green Mill,” launching Saturday, Oct. 10, at 8pm (CT) the singer pairs his own Friday night gigs with shows by some of modern jazz’s most acclaimed and inventive artists: trumpeter Marquis Hill, vocalist Lizz Wright, and drummer/producer Makaya McCraven kicking off the series’ first three concerts, with the fourth TBA. In addition to his role as host, Elling may even sit in from time to time!
“Everybody’s been losing their minds since nobody can play,” Elling says. “It’s been tough, but I hope this series will be good for my fellow musicians, good for the Green Mill, and good for the Chicago jazz scene. I know it will be good for me.”
The Saturday night series starting October 10 and following Elling’s own inaugural 25th Anniversary concerts on Fridays, launch with a hometown show for rising star trumpeter Marquis Hill. From his beginnings as one of Chicago’s most thrilling young trumpeters to his current status as an internationally renowned musician, composer and bandleader, Hill has worked tirelessly to break down the barriers that divide musical genres. Contemporary and classic jazz, hip-hop, R&B, Chicago house, neo-soul—to Hill, they’re all essential elements of the profound African American creative heritage of which he’s a part.
On October 17, acclaimed vocalist Lizz Wright will bring her own soulful blend of jazz, gospel, folk, pop and Americana to the Green Mill stage. Wright is a steward of American music, bringing brilliant color and vibrancy to singular original works and compositions by some of the greatest songwriters of our time. Through an inimitable voice that The New York Times touts as “a smooth, dark alto possessed of qualities you might associate with barrel-aged bourbon or butter-soft leather,” Wright sings with a soaring reflection of the cultural fabric of America.
Another Chicago-based innovator, Makaya McCraven will showcase his eclectic, boundary-pushing style on October 24. The cutting-edge drummer, producer, and sonic collagist, who refers to himself as a “beat scientist,” is a multi-talented force whose inventive process & intuitive style of performance defy categorization. Called “a sound visionary” by jazzinchicago.org who is “not your everyday jazz drummer” (thewordisbond.com), McCraven brilliantly moves between genres and pushes the boundaries of jazz and rhythm to create forms of his own.
The streaming series brings Elling’s career full circle in more ways than one; last summer saw him return to his native Chicago after a dozen years in New York, making the Green Mill once again his local hang. “The Green Mill is my home club,” Elling explains. “I really want to shine a light on how beautiful that room is and how much of a difference it’s made over so many decades to so many fans and artists.”
Both the Saturday Night series and his own Anniversary Virtual Concert Tour on Friday nights are
Elling’s way to help ensure that jazz survives in the Windy City and beyond, even as the music industry faces the daunting struggles presented by the ongoing COVID lockdowns. That new reality will be evident during the livestreams, as the musicians will all be wearing masks, will be socially distanced to the extent allowed by the stage, and will perform before an intimate, distanced audience of a very few invited guests.
Tickets for Kurt Elling’s 25th Anniversary Virtual Tour on Fridays at 3 and 8pm (CT) will cost $60 for the series or $15 for individual tickets, with virtual meet and greets and ticket bundles also available. Tickets for each “Saturday Night at The Green Mill” at 8pm (CT) will be $15. The series will be streamed via the newly launched Mandolin.com, a high-quality streaming service designed especially to present live music. All concerts will have 48 hours of on-demand replay. For more information or to purchase series or individual tickets, please visit Mandolin.com.
For more information
The Green Mill: GreenMillJazz.com
Kurt Elling: KurtElling.com