Kurt Elling Announces New Covers EP Guilty Pleasures Featuring Charlie Hunter & Nate Smith

Article Contributed by Missing Piece Group | Published on Sunday, January 15, 2023

Today, multi-GRAMMY award-winning vocalist Kurt Elling announced a February 17th release date for Guilty Pleasures, a 6-track EP featuring guitarist Charlie Hunter and special guest drummer Nate Smith. Bursting with Elling’s trademark charisma, energy and showmanship, Guilty Pleasures features six high-octane covers, including Kurt’s new rendition of “Wrap It Up,” originally recorded by R&B duo Sam & Dave. “I’ve been a huge Sam & Dave fan from my $1 cassette years in the used bin,” says Elling. “I wore that thing OUT. Now I just hope we’ve done the song the funky justice it deserves.”

Listen to Kurt Elling “Wrap It Up”

Guilty Pleasures is a continuation of Elling’s SuperBlue collaboration with Charlie Hunter. A torrent of boisterous funk, indelible beats and all-too-current lyrics, 2021’s debut SuperBlue album was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards, and was met with acclaim from Chicago Tribune, Downbeat, WBGO, Jazziz, and more. The second SuperBlue album will be released in fall of 2023.

Guilty Pleasures offers listeners a guiltless treat — along with Sam & Dave’s “Wrap It Up,” covers on the EP  include Eddie Money’s “Baby Hold On,” Al Jarreau’s “Boogie Down,” PJ Morton’s “Sticking to My Guns,” AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” and a new rendition of Nate Smith’s “Bounce.”

“Charlie and I are over the moon to be able to put out some tracks with our friend Nate Smith,” says Elling. “We had one afternoon and some random song ideas going into the studio … Man! I hope we can do it again some time!”

Elling first met Hunter when both were signed to Blue Note Records in the late 1990s. They struck up an immediate rapport, leading to Elling’s guest appearance on Hunter’s album Songs From the Analog Playground. With his unassailable cred in both worlds, Hunter bridges the gap between the jazz and groove camps. “Between the records he’s made with cats like D’Angelo and John Mayer and A Tribe Called Quest, Charlie is a made guy in that world, just as he has the respect of jazz people,'' says Elling.

The universal accolades for Elling don’t always mention his relentless, career-long, search for new vistas. He’s recorded an album of global love songs (Passion World) and transformed the Christmas tradition (The Beautiful Day); he’s written lyrics to jazz classics, staked out 1960s-70s rock-n-roll (on 1619 Broadway), and entered into a galvanic partnership, on disc and on tour, with Branford Marsalis’s quartet. He earned his first GRAMMY for updating the historic collaboration between John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (Dedicated to You), and his most recent statuette for Secrets Are The Best Stories, his Latin-inspired project with modern piano giant Danilo Perez.

Guilty Pleasures will be released February 17th via Edition Records.

1. Baby Hold On (Eddie Money Cover)
2. Wrap It Up (Sam & Dave Cover)
3. Boogie Down (Al Jarreau Cover)
4. Bounce (Nate Smith Cover)
5. Sticking to My Guns (PJ Morton Cover)
6. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (AC/DC Cover)