Grammy®-winning vocalist Kurt Elling hosts a line-up of modern-day jazz greats for “Saturday Night at the Green Mill,” a new series of four livestream performances from the iconic Chicago club continuing with Makaya McCraven on Saturday, October 24.
Kurt Elling has launched his Cocktail Hour: 25th Anniversary Virtual Concert Tour, a series of five themed livestream concerts from the stage of Chicago’s iconic nightclub, the Green Mill, running Fridays through Nov. 13, in two performances each week at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (CT). Excited to finally return to live performance after months of pandemic-related silence, the 75-minute concerts commemorate the silver anniversary of Elling’s Blue Note debut, Close Your Eyes. Then, with “Saturday Night at the Green Mill,” Elling pairs his own Friday night gigs with shows by some of modern jazz’s most acclaimed and inventive artists, including Chicago drummer/producer Makaya McCraven Saturday, Oct. 24, at 8:00 p.m. CT.
“Everybody’s been losing their minds since nobody can play,” Elling says. “It’s been tough, but I hope this series will be good for my fellow musicians, good for the Green Mill, and good for the Chicago jazz scene. I know it will be good for me.”
The Saturday night series started October 10 with rising star trumpeter Marquis Hill, followed by Lizz Wright this Saturday, October 17. Chicago-based innovator, Makaya McCraven will showcase his eclectic, boundary-pushing style on October 24. The cutting-edge drummer, producer, and sonic collagist, who refers to himself as a “beat scientist,” is a multi-talented force whose inventive process and intuitive style of performance defy categorization. Called “a sound visionary” by jazzinchicago.org who is “not your everyday jazz drummer” (thewordisbond.com), McCraven brilliantly moves between genres and pushes the boundaries of jazz and rhythm to create forms of his own.
The streaming series brings Elling’s career full circle in more ways than one; last summer saw him return to his native Chicago after a dozen years in New York, making the Green Mill once again his local hang. “The Green Mill is my home club,” Elling explains. “I really want to shine a light on how beautiful that room is and how much of a difference it’s made over so many decades to so many fans and artists.”
Both the Saturday Night series and his own Anniversary Virtual Concert Tour on Friday nights are Elling’s way to help ensure that jazz survives in the Windy City and beyond, even as the music industry faces the daunting struggles presented by the ongoing COVID lockdowns. That new reality will be evident during the livestreams, as the musicians will all be wearing masks, will be socially distanced to the extent allowed by the stage, and will perform before an intimate, distanced audience of a very few invited guests.
Tickets for each Kurt Elling 25th Anniversary Virtual Tour on Fridays and for each “Saturday Night at The Green Mill” concert are $15 and are streamed via the newly launched Mandolin.com. All concerts will have 48 hours of on-demand replay. For more information or to purchase series or individual tickets, please visit Mandolin.com.