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Cécile McLorin Salvant

Dreams and Daggers

Cecile McLorin Salvant first made waves in the jazz world when, at the urging of her mother, she entered the most prestigious jazz vocal competition in the world. Having nearly missed the submission deadline, she made it to the finals as their youngest performer and was selected by an illustrious panel of judges – Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Kurt Elling, Patti Austin, and Al Jarreau – as the 2010 Thelonious Monk Competition winner. While she had bypassed the traditional U.S. conservatories and jazz schools, McLorin Salvant studied at France’s Aix-en-Provence before returning for the competition’s semi-finals, the judges noted her remarkable voice and striking ability to inhabit the emotional space of every song she heard and turn it into a compelling statement. 

When Cécile McLorin Salvant arrived at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC to compete in the finals of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, she was not only the youngest finalist, but also a mystery woman with the most unusual background of any of the participants. When she walked away with first place in the jazz world’s most prestigious contest, the buzz began almost immediately. The New York Times now calls her "the finest jazz singer to emerge in the last decade."

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