Kurt Elling currently reigns as the jazz world's predominant male vocalist. He has spent the last ten consecutive years at the top of the DownBeat Critics poll and topped the JazzTimes Readers' poll five times. Elling is a nine-time Grammy award nominee, and his latest release for Concord/Universal, 2009's Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane & Hartman was his first Grammy-winning record, propelling his career to new heights. He has also won six Jazz Journalists Association Awards for Male Singer of the Year and the Prix Billie Holiday from the Académie du Jazz in Paris. As a singer, Kurt has won fans with his rich baritone voice that spans four octaves and displays astonishing technical facility and emotional depth, and as an artist, he is known for his major contributions as a writer and performer of vocalese, a style of singing wherein lyrics are set over over melodies that were originally part of an all-instrumental jazz improvisation or composition. Deeply influenced by singer and poet, Mark Murphy, Elling began to develop his idiosyncratic scat style in the smaller clubs of Chicago. As the natural heir to jazz pioneers Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure, and Jon Hendricks, Elling is the contemporary voice in vocalese. Whether it be Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett, or Dexter Gordon, Elling's vocalized interpretation is flawless. Upon Blue Note's reception of Elling's demo, Close Your Eyes, released in 1995, he began to get attention from jazz press, not only for his talent and original style, but also his choice in sidemen, which included Laurence Hobgood and Paul Wertico for a time. Over the past fifteen years, Kurt Elling has won over jazz critics and fans alike, and The New York Times calls him, "the standout male jazz vocalist of our time."