In his 1961 essay "Style and 'Styles' in Music," composer Roger Sessions (1896-1985) wrote "Properly understood, style is a living process, in every case a process of development and of boldness; and I often think that the most ﬁtting motto for the young artist should be that of [French Revolutionary leader] Danton: De l'audace, toujours l'audace, et encore de l'audace. If this motto is to be efﬁcacious, however, the word audace, boldness, must be understood in its primary sense; the artist must, as we say, 'stick his neck out,' and insist on being himself at all times and at all costs."
Jazz singer Kurt Elling is bold. Although he's not ﬂagrantly experimental like the astringently angular Jaap Blonk or the ebullient Paul Dutton, Elling bravely ventures where few vocalists dare to tread, from audaciously adding lyrics to John Coltrane's A Love Supreme-Coltrane's widow tendered her blessing-to gutsy, half-hummed falsettos to wordlessly gliding from note to note and hitting the mark. Elling takes risks but always swings.
Speaking of audacity, the Seattle Symphony's superb closing performance of the Made in America festival on May 19 ranks among the best performances I have heard from Schwarz and Co. since I started listening to 'em in the late 1980s. Robust horns resounded with full-throated fury in Hanson's Symphony No. 2 and Copland's Symphonic Ode. Spellbinding strings were by turns billowy, agile, and fearsome (especially in the Copland); indeed, the entire band sallied through a technically daunting program-I'm sure many musicians went home with sore arms, ears, and lips-with ﬁre, grit, and ferocity. CHRISTOPHER DeLAURENTI
Kurt Elling and the Laurence Hobgood Trio perform Thurs June 2 through Sat June 4 with sets at 7:30 and 9:30 pm and Sun June 5 at 6:30 and 8:30 pm (Jazz Alley 2033 Sixth Ave, 441-9729), $20.50-$24.50.