|Secrets Are The Best Stories is the new album from acclaimed vocalist and GRAMMY® Award-winning artist Kurt Elling featuring renowned pianist Danilo Pérez. Edition Records is delighted to provide the support and artistic freedom for Elling 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 Elling, 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 recognized 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.” The album called Secrets Are The Best Stories, is our cri de coeur.
01. The Fanfold Hawk (for Franz Wright) Music by Jaco Pastorius, Lyrics by Kurt Elling
02. A Certain ContinuumMusic by Jaco Pastorius, Lyrics by Kurt Elling
03. Stays Music by Wayne Shorter, Lyrics by Kurt Elling and Robert Pinsky
04. Gratitude (for Robert Bly)Music by Danilo Pérez, Lyrics by Kurt Elling
05. Stage I Music by Django Bates, Lyrics by Sidsel Endresen
06. Beloved (for Toni Morrison)Music by Danilo Pérez, Lyrics by Kurt Elling
07. Stages II, III Music by Django Bates, Lyrics by Sidsel Endresen
08. Song Of The Rio Grande (for Oscar and Valeria Martinez-Ramirez) Music by Danilo Pérez, Lyrics by Kurt Elling
09. Rabo de NubeMusic & Lyrics by Silvio Rodríguez
10. EsperantoMusic by Vince Mendoza, Lyrics by Kurt Elling
11. EpílogoMusic by Danilo Pérez
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.
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 recognizable 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.