I could live my entire life in Central Park. The rolling hills and ancient rocks remind me of the New York that exists in my mind’s eye. This is a good thing because, you see, I’ve got a problem and it’s a big one. New York is not the diner on every corner, Gershwin playing, Woody Allen muttering, J.D Salinger paradise I thought it might be. It’s a dirty, over-populated, consumerist hell-hole, fit for only the overweight mid-western so-and-so’s that spend all their fat moments talking loudly in Times Square. Disappointed? I sure was. But I found that there are more people that think this way, and one person in particular is the Vocalese extrordinaire, Kurt Elling.
Kurt Elling is a jazz singer from Chicago. His records have earned him many Grammys and fans around the world. Tonight he played a show at Charlie Parker’s old haunt, Birdland, on 44th St. After the show I asked him, “Kurt, I hear you’re living in New York now. Why? Gershwin’s New York doesn’t exist to me yet. Where is it?” To which he replied, “Everyone wants to live in New York sometime in their life. Just like everyone wants to live in Paris or Milan or…” Then he wailed his arms in the air like a bat with enormous wings. “New York is hip, you’ll find it. There are pockets where Gershwin lives. You just gotta know where to look.” Then he signed my record and I walked to the Flatiron building and decided to stay a while.