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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Voice and Interesting Choice of Material.
This album sees Kurt Elling on top form vocally and paired with a name producer from the pop/rock world in Don Was. So this combination sees Elling tackling more popular material, which in other hands might be seen as an attempt at crossing over to a bigger market - but he remains true to his Jazz roots and this music has always been about interpreting the popular music...
Published on 21 Mar. 2011 by Bruce

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stylish, yes, but a little bit enervating as well...
With a Grammy award and eight other Grammy-nominated albums under his belt, Elling has now taken on the mantle of "world's greatest male jazz vocalist".
This new album shows he wears it with panache.
There's something just so perfectly controlled and stylish about everything he does, whether it's Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady", Lennon/McCartney's "Norwegian...
Published on 2 April 2011 by jazz for the sky


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Voice and Interesting Choice of Material., 21 Mar. 2011
By 
Bruce "from Brighton" (UK - England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Gate (Audio CD)
This album sees Kurt Elling on top form vocally and paired with a name producer from the pop/rock world in Don Was. So this combination sees Elling tackling more popular material, which in other hands might be seen as an attempt at crossing over to a bigger market - but he remains true to his Jazz roots and this music has always been about interpreting the popular music of the day through an improvisor's sensibility.

Elling has a great band here from the top rank of the Jazz world - bass player John Patitucci is a band leader/composer in his own right and sideman in Wayne Shorter's quartet. Bob Mintzer is one of the most experienced around and Elling's regular collaborator Laurence Hobgood, contributes some great piano playing and clever arrangements.

The album starts with an unusual choice of a King Crimson song from one of their most intense periods - but this is a suprisingly gentle ballad - handled with incredible sensitivity. Then we are into more popular material in Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out" which sounds better for a walking bass line replacing the ostinato of the original. The band go through several key changes and altered chords, while Elling explores depths that were hardly apparent.

We are now into the two aspects of this album which seem at odds - so we have a great improvising band, which pulls tunes apart and toys with them. But also Elling overdubs vocals to create harmonies - like a choir at times - which must have taken a lot of arrangement and thought. This makes for a unique sound which is something I have never heard before and at times, truly amazes!

Elling's voice is so perfect - his pitching and timing seems uncanny - to be able to do this over and over again in overdubs that blend perfectly is a great technical achievement. But it all works and fits in.

Many tracks benefit from this treatment, although Miles' Blue in Green benefits from simplicity and stillness - while the overdubbed vocals take over completely in "Samurai Cowboy" with just Sax adding to the mix. I also love how Norwegian Wood moves effortlessly into a "Fusion" style groove with a rocking guitar solo.

The last track - NightTown, Lady Bright is clearly Elling's "Labour of Love" and tribute to Duke Ellington - but the stand-out track for me was Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady". Not many vocalists are brave enough to tackle Stevie, but this adds to the original and it's played as a Jazz standard - with great work from the band and Elling supremely confident throughout.

I was really surprised at how good this album is and it has Jazz integrity, intelligent arrangments, great playing and singing as well as things that will astonish and delight - highly recommended!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WARNING - CHECK YOUR DISK, 9 Mar. 2011
By 
D. Stephenson (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Gate (Audio CD)
My copy of The Gate arived from Amazon this morning. The CD was thicker than usual. It would not play in either of my computer tray drives or in my hi-fi tray drive. It would play in a slot loading machine in my kitchen - but it was difficult getting the CD to eject and I wasn't about to put it in again and jam the player. Eventually I took a knife to the edge and prised apart what was in fact two CDs stuck together. One has an orange upper surface with the artist and title printed on it. The surfaces of the other are [visually] blank except for etched record company details and a serial number in the centre circle. The disk faces that were stuck to each other smell strongly - glue? Both disks play fine in all of my machines and each contains the full content of the album. There is nothing with the packaging to suggest that the duplication of the disk is intentional.

I am posting this "review" primarily as a warning in case someone else has the same problem and damages their player, but the music on the first couple of listens is vey fine indeed.

No stars for the record company. Four stars for Kurt Elling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch, 17 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: The Gate (Audio CD)
Kurt Elling. A real pro. He wouldn't get far on X-factor. This is a lesson on how to do numbers that have been done before but do them so that they sound new. And John McLean, a little known but brilliant guitarist (was in Patricia Barber's band and may still be) - his solo in Norwegian Wood is tremendous and totally unexpected. For me, it's the high spot of the album, but all of it is top notch.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stylish, yes, but a little bit enervating as well..., 2 April 2011
This review is from: The Gate (Audio CD)
With a Grammy award and eight other Grammy-nominated albums under his belt, Elling has now taken on the mantle of "world's greatest male jazz vocalist".
This new album shows he wears it with panache.
There's something just so perfectly controlled and stylish about everything he does, whether it's Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady", Lennon/McCartney's "Norwegian Wood", or Miles Davis's "Blue in Green".
Elling has gathered together a fabulous band, including John Patitucci on bass and John McLean on guitar.
And the voice is a thing of wonder.
It has laser-sharp tuning, soars up to a soft-as-honey head tone and on words like "bittersweet" changes magically to a harsher colour.
But the sheer smooth perfection of the sound (produced by aural wizard Don Was) and the calculated effectiveness of the singing eventually begin to seem enervating.
This is an album you admire rather than love.
I. Hewett

Man in the Air
Nightmoves
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4.0 out of 5 stars Introspective perhaps., 8 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Gate (Audio CD)
It's an unusual album with mostly unknown songs, but sung superbly as always by Kurt in his unique style. Could have had perhaps, a couple of more upbeat numbers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good product, 4 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Gate (Audio CD)
nice album, great voice, good purchase, and prompt receipt. not the greatest choice of songs on this, but hopefully the latest album will be better.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's better than one Kurt Elling?, 9 May 2011
By 
Keith Chatton (Burnopfield, Newcastle upon Tyne) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Gate (Audio CD)
Answer - 2 Kurt Ellings! "The Gate" is my first foray into KurtEllingtonia and is an elegant introduction to the multiple grammy-nominated singer. The 2 Ellings is a reference to the multitracking of his voice on several of the tracks, so in effect he is harmonising with himself, and is apparently responsible for the vocal arrangements.

The choice of material proves Elling's penchant for navigating the aesthetic tightrope less well followed. This is a collection where a plangent cover of Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out" exists side by side with a sensitive rendition of King Crimson's "Matte Kudasi", a tour de force version of the Bill Evans composition "Blue in Green" and a nod to Herbie Hancock with an ethereal "Come Running to Me" - the last 2 displaying the tight descanting of parallel vocal lines.

There are a couple of tracks that haven't as yet totally won me over, but I'm sure that both "Samurai Cowboy" and his tribute to Duke Ellington "Nighttown Lady Bright will eventually resonate as jazz classics.

All in all, I would definitely recommend "The Gate" to anyone who likes to take risks in music, just like Kurt Elling takes risks in not only his choice of material, but also in the way he interprets these songs. In some ways, the risk is mitigated with the proficiency of the backing and mention must be made of the contribution from pianist & musical director Laurence Hobgood. Make it part of the soundtrack for your next dinner party & wait for the reactions!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection, 9 April 2013
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This review is from: The Gate (Audio CD)
Mr Kurt Elling with his amazing voice. The CD oozes style and class. Pure perfection. Jazz at its best. Buy it and be enchanted.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kurt Elling's new CD, 2 May 2011
By 
Z. A. Ryan - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Gate (Audio CD)
I first chanced to see Kurt Elling on BBC Breakfast and loved his rendition of Beatles hit 'Norwegian Wood'. I then saw him perform most of the songs from his new CD at a jazz cafe in a small town outside Barcelona where he was excellent. I am now an avid fan and love his voice and style. I am enjoying listening to The Gate but feel a little let down by the last track which is just a voice over, however I would still recommend buying his music which is great.
Barcelona, SPAIN.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 21 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Gate (Audio CD)
I had heard Kurt Elling singing 'Stepping Out' and really loved his version, but that's the only song on the CD that I like. The other songs are terrible, in my opinion. Really disappointing.
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The Gate
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