Carrying the torch of Ella Fitzgerald & Billie Holiday, this Grammy nominated vocalist has a fresh take on the songs of jazz from the 1900s through the 30s.
Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan tower over the jazz vocalist landscape, and rightly so. Young singers face the daunting challenge of simultaneously absorbing and honoring these traditions while growing their own artistic voices. Enter Cécile McLorin Salvant, a singer who has burst onto the scene with a sensibility at once as familiar and singular as one could hope. Born to a French mother and Haitian father, McLorin Salvant walked a long, winding path to jazz and blues—curving through stateside childhood choral singing and classical voice study. After moving to France to study further, she met reedist/teacher Jean-François Bonnel, who introduced her to improvisation, instrumental works, and 20th-century vocal repertoire. She recorded her debut album with his Paris Quintet in 2009, but it was her surprise win at the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in Washington, D.C. that captured the jazz world’s attention since her musical arrival had developed outside of the U.S. scene’s usual crucibles.
(McLorin Salvant’s) voice clamps into each song, performing careful variations on pitch, stretching words but generally not scatting; her face conveys meaning, representing sorrow or serenity like a silent-movie actor.
—The New York Times
Her immersion in songs from the 1900s through the 1930s, including works by Fats Waller and Bessie Smith, allow her to showcase her innate ability for exceptional vocal shadings and a keen attention to detail. The flurry around her Grammy®-nominated 2014 album, WomanChild, was nothing short of explosive. Like her albums, McLorin Salvant’s concerts showcase her idiosyncratic, virtuosic force for jazz standards and her vantage point as a global citizen with originals in French, English, and Spanish. Employing effortless command and clear tones, she draws listeners into the depth of her delivery—a twenty something blazing her own trail with a signature combination of cultural insight, youthful confidence, and unusually mature artistry.
Don Seybold, host of Inside Jazz on WBAA, and pianist Judd Danby will discuss Cécile McLorin Salvant’s music.
SEPT 11 / Piano Dedication Recital with Sean Chen and Eric Zuber
SEPT 18 / Rising Stars of Metropolitan Opera
OCT 22 / Cécile McLorin Salvant
NOV 13 / In Mo Yang, violin
JAN 22 / DIVA Jazz Orchestra (Purdue Jazz Festival)
FEB 20 / Philip Glass: The Complete Piano Etudes
APR 7 / SFJAZZ Collective: The Michael Jackson Project
APR 16 / Les Violons du Roy with Alexandre Tharaud, piano