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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Secrets Are The Best Stories'
Artist - Kurt Elling

For those not in the know, Secrets Are The Best Stories (released April 3rd, 2020) is the new album from acclaimed vocalist and Grammy-winning artist Kurt Elling.

Featuring renowned pianist Danilo Pérez, and released on the British label, Edition Records, this cohesively vibrant and alluring new album showcases the two maestros as they enhance and lift the dual works.

Ergo, this wondrous collaboration not only marks a vital new musical gem between two of the greats within music, but is an album that confirms Kurt Elling as the male vocalist of his generation – one who has the presence, the message and the artistic vision to stand out from the rest.

1. 'The Fanfold Hawk (for Franz Wright)' (2.44)
2. 'A Certain Continuum' (5.06)
3. 'Stays' (5.28)
4. 'Gratitude (for Robert Bly)' (6.21)
5. 'Stage I' (5.05)
6. 'Beloved (for Toni Morrison)' (9.32)
7. 'Stages II, III' (4.26)
8. 'Song Of The Rio Grande (for Oscar and Valeria Martinez-Ramirez)' (4.56)
9. 'Rabo de Nube' (3.20)
10. 'Esperanto' (5.01)
11. 'Epílogo' (1.33)

Here, on what is now easily one of my own personal Top 5 albums of the year thus far, 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.

Opening with the dulcet majesty of 'The Fanfold Hawk (For Franz Wright),' they back that up seamlessly with the beautiful percussion of 'A Certain Continuum,' the late night jazz club feel of 'Stays,' and then both the evoking 'Gratitude (For Robert Bly)' and the stoic recalling of 'Stage I.'

Next up is the truly beautiful 'Beloved (For Toni Morrison)' (complete with a super lush sax solo), which is followed by 'Stages II, III' and the playful 'Song of the Rio Grande (For Oscar and Valeria Martinez-Ramirez).'

This quite magnificent album then rounds out with the Spanish-sung 'Rabo de Nube,' the gentle hipsway of 'Esperanto,' and then rounds out with the short piano work of 'Epílogo.'

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.

Kurt Elling: Voice
Danilo Pérez: Piano, Rhodes
Clark Sommers: Bass
Johnathan Blake: Drums
Rogerio Boccato: Percussion
Román Díaz: Percussion (Track 2)
Miguel Zenón: Alto Saxophone
Chico Pinheiro: Guitar

Amazon CD Purchase Link