Though the calendar says the lovers' holiday has passed, this pair of elite contemporary jazz vocalists aim to keep the romantic fires aglow with a joint appearance dubbed Be My Valentine. Both Lizz Wright (pictured) and Kurt Elling, who will perform separately, are highly distinctive and original song interpreters whose idiosyncrasies consistently offer fresh insight into eclectic material. Georgia native Wright's roots are in gospel, and that spirit colors her wider forays into jazz, blues, and soul. On 2010's Fellowship, her powerful, dusky voice tackled a few gospel standards as well as tunes from Jimi Hendrix, Eric Claption, Gladys Knight, and Meshell Ndegeocello. Chicago's Elling uses his marvelously elastic baritone to extract fathoms of nuance from a vast array of jazz, pop, and rock, with striking arrangements mostly credited to Elling and pianist Laurence Hobgood. Last year Elling covered the likes of King Crimson, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, and Miles Davis on The Gate (Concord), which by the time of this concert could very well have won this year's Grammy for best vocal jazz album.
Sat., Feb. 18, 8 p.m., 2012