The Questions, co-produced by Kurt Elling & Branford Marsalis, presents Elling’s interpretations of songs written by some of music’s most influential composers, including Bob Dylan (“A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”), Leonard Bernstein (“Lonely Town”), Rodgers & Hammerstein (“I Have Dreamed” from The King and I), plus a powerful revisit of Paul Simon’s “American Tune” (originally recorded for Kurt’s 2012 Grammy®-nominated release, 1619 Broadway).
There are also several compelling new arrangements of what were originally instrumental jazz compositions which feature Elling’s own new lyrics. Among these are “A Secret in Three Views” (adapted from Jaco Pastorius’ “Three Views of a Secret”), Carla Bley’s “Endless Lawns” (originally titled “Lawns”), and Joey Calderazzo’s “The Enchantress” (originally called “The Lonely Swan”). Hoagy Carmichael’s classic, “Skylark”, closes out the recording.
The musical lineup on The Questions showcases Elling at the height of his abilities. He is accompanied by guest performers Branford Marsalis (soprano and tenor saxophones), Joey Calderazzo (piano), Marquis Hill (flugelhorn) and Jeff “Tain” Watts (drums). The core group of musicians from Elling’s working band features John McLean (guitar), Stu Mindeman (piano/B3) and Clark Sommers (bass).
The Questions will both provoke and soothe listeners who find themselves challenged in these trying times, with Elling digging into the deeper concerns of life. Perhaps more importantly, The Questions reveals volumes about the expertise, experience and hard-won wisdom Elling and his cohorts have gained as musicians.