SFJAZZ, Herbst, KURT ELLING w/ THE SWINGLES. Long before Kurt Elling became the most celebrated male jazz singer of his generation, he started singing jazz in Chicago joints while studying for a graduate degree at the University of Chicago Divinity School. While Saturday night eventually won out over Sunday morning and he dropped out of the program just shy of earning a masters, Elling was singularly qualified to record 2016’s The Beautiful Day, a Christmas album that evokes the holiday’s spirituality and lore while embracing the season’s universal themes of mystery, love, hope and goodwill. Possessing a remarkably expressive baritone, Elling spent much of the last year touring with saxophone great Branford Marsalis, who featured him on his Marsalis Music quartet album Upward Spiral. For this concert Elling in joined by The Swingles, the five-time GRAMMY Award-winning jazz vocal ensemble created by American-born arranger Ward Swingle in Paris in the early 1960s. Swingle, who died in 2015, moved to London in 1973 and re-launched the a cappella ensemble with British singers, and the seven-member group has been a leading force in a cappella ever since. Featured on Glee and Grey’s Anatomy as well as the soundtrack for the Harvey Milk biopic Milk, the Swingles infuse everything from Björk to Bach with lush jazz harmonies.