The dissertation researches the contemporary jazz vocalist Kurt Elling. His background, performing career and successes are explored before his artistry as a performer and pedagogue are examined in detail. A personal Skype lesson and a personal interview form part of the research material. Elling’s improvisatory art and his relationship with and opinions on scatting, and especially jazz vocalese are portrayed. To this end the author’s transcription of Elling’s vocalese based on Downtown (by Russel Ferrante) is included. Elling’s influence, creativity, spirituality and infusion of poetry into jazz are also investigated in order to show how he inspires audiences and students alike.
The history of, and general descriptions of various jazz vocal styles are traced, whereafter the situation regarding the jazz vocal scene in South Africa is outlined. Local jazz vocal teaching in particular, and associated problems are discussed, and recommendations made. The author utilises her background as an accomplished performer and teacher to infuse these discussions with personal insights. Elling’s opinions on how cultural and ethnic differences can inspire South African jazz vocalists are also delineated.
Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2014.