‘Somewhere’, from ‘West Side Story’ (Scottish National Jazz Orchestra / Kurt Elling)

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra releases a new video featuring Kurt Elling singing Somewhere, from West Side Story, to coincide with Remembrance Sunday this weekend, writes Rob Adams.

Kurt Elling. Photo credit: Derek Clark

Taken from Elling and the SNJO’s critically acclaimed song cycle Synopticon, the performance of Somewhere was recorded at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh and also features soloists, pianist Steve Hamilton and alto saxophonist Ru Pattison, in an arrangement by Wisconsin-born, New York-based pianist-composer Geoffrey Keezer.

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Synopticon is a musical depiction of human emotions, virtues and experiences and we chose Somewhere to represent Love and Beauty,” says SNJO director, saxophonist Tommy Smith. “As with all poetry, everyone has their own interpretation of a lyric but the reason we’re releasing this particular song this weekend is an acknowledgement of its message with reconnecting with a loved one. So, when the nation unites to remember and honour the fallen and those we have lost, no-one is forgotten. We want everyone to feel included, especially in these uncertain times.”

With music by one of America’s greatest composers, Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by master wordsmith Stephen Sondheim, Somewhere is a classic vehicle for Elling, who is one of the leading singers of the current age with a very distinctive vocal tone.

Following on from Elling and the orchestra’s enthusiastically received adaptation of John Scofield’s Courage: Jeep on 35°, also taken from the Syntopicon series of concerts, Somewhere is the fourth video the SNJO has released during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The idea behind these releases is that they help us to stay in touch with our audience while we are unable to give live performances,” says Smith. “But this one, like Courage: Jeep on 35° and its predecessors with the marvellous young Texan Jazzmeia Horn and New York vibes virtuoso Joe Locke, is also a reminder of the resources we have in our concert catalogue and the international connections we’ve made and continue to foster. It’s a great performance by Kurt and an illustration of the understanding we have developed together over a series of collaborations.”

LINK: Somewhere will be available on the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra’s YouTube channel  from 9:00am tomorrow.

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