Secrets Are the Best Stories Kurt Elling

Album info



Label: Edition Records

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Vocal

Artist: Kurt Elling

Album including Album cover


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FLAC 96 $ 13.20
  • 1The Fanfold Hawk (For Franz Wright)02:43
  • 2A Certain Continuum05:07
  • 3Stays05:28
  • 4Gratitude (For Robert Bly)06:21
  • 5Stage I05:04
  • 6Beloved (For Toni Morrison)09:32
  • 7Stages II, III04:26
  • 8Song of the Rio Grande (For Oscar and Valeria Martinez-Ramirez)04:56
  • 9Rabo de Nube03:20
  • 10Esperanto05:01
  • 11Epílogo01:32
  • Total Runtime53:30

Info for Secrets Are the Best Stories

Secrets Are The Best Stories is the new album from acclaimed vocalist and Grammy-winning artist Kurt Elling featuring renowned pianist Danilo Pérez.

Edition Records is delighted to provide the support and artistic freedom for Kurt to pursue his goals while placing artistry and integrity at the forefront. Secrets Are The Best Stories is set to be a career-defining album for Kurt, confirming his trajectory on a new and evolving path of artistic excellence, and further exploring the passion and the messages, political, personal, that inspire him.

Here, Elling adds evocative new lyrics to compositions by greats like Pérez’s iconic collaborator Wayne Shorter, late fusion bass genius Jaco Pastorius, and visionary composer/arranger Vince Mendoza, and to pieces from Pérez’s own catalogue. Along with his own compelling narratives, Elling adapts the works of contemporary poets Franz Wright and Robert Bly, the 19th century abolitionist poet Frances E.W. Harper and Nobel-winning author Toni Morrison.

His previous album The Questions, released in 2018, explored important messages about social and political issues. The Questions was undoubtedly a learning experience from which Elling never expected to find definitive answers. And yet some things have become clearer to him. Elling’s continued search for what is hidden and what is unearthed is reflected in the title, Secrets Are The Best Stories – an insight gleaned from one of his daughter’s childhood friends, whose naïve wisdom recognised the deeper beauty in games of hide-and-seek.

With Secrets Are The Best Stories, Kurt has further developed his protest voice to communicate his impassioned artistic reaction to the vital issues of our time: human rights, immigration and climate change. On this album he demonstrates the artist’s ability to respond, which he does with command and virtuosity, and integrity.

The Questions asked, ‘How did we get in this mess? What are we going to do about it?'” Elling reflects. “Sometimes we trip over the answers or live into them over time. Sometimes we have to work very hard to see the possibility hidden right in front of us; the shining diamond must be romanced over time and drawn out from what looks like a plain block of molten frost. And then again, sometimes the answer is perfectly obvious: ‘Be kind.’ But the news cycle has continued apace, confronting us with an ever darker labyrinth. How shall we survive? Danilo and I share many of the same concerns and anxieties about where the world is today. Secrets Are The Best Stories is our cri de coeur.”

To help them amplify this musical outcry, Elling and Pérez gather together a remarkable ensemble. The core of the band is formed by the singer’s longtime bassist Clark Sommers, in-demand drummer Johnathan Blake and Brazilian percussion master Rogerio Boccato. They’re joined by a retinue of stellar special guests, including alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, guitarist Chico Pinheiro, and Román Díaz, a revered elder statesman of Cuban percussion.

Secrets Are The Best Stories brings together a powerful message and unique collaboration. As Kurt explains: “I am thrilled to be working with Danilo so closely on this collection of songs. I am grateful to him for the remarkable energy he gave to this collaboration. As always when I am in the room with someone of such enormous talent and experience, I hope to learn all that I can about his/her approach to music and life. I want to be challenged and to meet the unexpected. I got that and more from Danilo. In the end, I believe we enriched one another and created something valuable and new.”

Perhaps the greatest mystery revealed by this recording is the secret of beauty itself: beauty with a purpose. With this gorgeous new album, Elling makes no secret of the empathy that he feels for – and hopes to find in – his fellow citizens of the world. “I start from the heart,” Elling says of his songwriting process. “And my heart goes to compassion.”

Ever since Kurt Elling burst on to the global scene 25 years ago, he has been developing the sound and command of his vocal instrument into one of the most recognisable in the music. A combination of richness in intent, of soulfulness and of signature expression define him as an artist. Secrets Are The Best Stories – the new recording from the world’s foremost jazz singer – translates an artistic vision of history, mystery, and storytelling into a musical message both singular and deep.

Kurt Elling, vocals
Danilo Pérez, piano

Kurt Elling
GRAMMY winner Kurt Elling is among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. He won the DownBeat Critics Poll for fourteen consecutive years and was named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times in that same span. Every one of Elling’s ten 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 Timesdeclared, “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.

Passion World, Kurt Elling’s newest recording, culminates nearly five years of collecting and honing songs – and in some cases writing new lyrics – that express love, romance and heartbreak around the world. Throughout his travels, Elling has observed how deeply felt passions are shaped in countless ways by each unique culture. Those insights have guided the creation of Passion World, a tour-de-force project that is vibrant with diversity, celebrating what makes us all human. In concert Elling tells rich stories about the history and context of each of these songs to sweep you away on a grand tour of exotic places, cultures and times. Passion World is a musical magic carpet taking you on a fascinating journey through the realms of romance in a concert not to be missed.

This album contains no booklet.

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