GRAMMY® Award-winning vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant has had a remarkable rise to stardom in her professional career, and she’s taking another big leap forward with Dreams and Daggers, her third album for Mack Avenue Records.
"You get a singer like this once in a generation or two." -Wynton Marsalis
“Salvant has a supple, well-trained voice with spot-on pitch.
(No vibrato-teases; no meandering warbles passing as melisma.)
Her low notes go from husky to full-bodied; her high notes float purely
and cleanly. When she scats, it’s not an ego trip but a musical game, where
notes and syllables get to shape-shift.” –The New York Times Magazine
"She had emotional range, too, inhabiting different personas in the
course of a song, sometimes even a phrase—delivering the lyrics in
a faithful spirit while also commenting on them, mining them for
unexpected drama and wit.” —The New Yorker
Salvant is up against some stiff competition: Denise Donatelli’s Find A Heart, Lorraine Feather’s Flirting With Disaster, Jamison Ross’ Jamison, and Karrin Allyson’s Many A New Day. But then the vocal album category is usually the biggest jazz deal, year after year, and the most recognized outside the genre — next to best jazz instrumental.
How the hell could I have missed Cecile McLorin Salvant? It's not as if she's been toiling in obscurity. She won the Thelonious Monk award in 2010, the Downbeat Critics' Prize for best jazz album (WomanChild) in 2014, and a Grammy for best jazz vocal album (For One to Love) just this year. She's been singing with her trio at the Village Vanguard this past week, and every set has been sold out or nearly so.
Only a few years into her career, the singer has absorbed the music’s history and made it her own. "...it was clear right away that the hype was justified. She sang with perfect intonation, elastic rhythm, an operatic range from thick lows to silky highs."
I did everything I could to not bring in any of the technical things I got from classical into jazz, and I did everything to really base it on my speaking voice and to just not try to make it sound pretty.
Ever since she stunned judges and took first place at the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010, the 27-year-old has established a legacy through an extraordinary command of jazz mythology augmented with her own eclectic tastes and surprising interpretations. Revue talked with Cecile McLorin Salvant about where her art is headed next and the inspiration and motivations that are driving her.
Jazz singer/songwriter Cecile McLorin Salvant is an artist that is on the rise! At 28, Salvant is truly making her name for herself in the music industry. She is an artist that reminds people why good music is still alive.
Born to a French mother and a Haitian father in Miami, Florida, Cécile McLorin Salvant was singing and playing classical piano before she reached the age of 10. A move to France in 2007 saw her study improvisation and vocal repertoire under respected reedist Jean-François Bonnel. Success followed the recording of her debut album, Cécile, in 2009, winning the the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition.
Cécile McLorin Salvant, perhaps the brightest star among jazz singers under 40, and whose retro glasses make her look like a clerk at a hipster vinyl shop, has always had old-school tastes.
When we polled our music writers for their favorite albums last year, there was little crossover — not surprising when you consider that one critic loves jazz, another specializes in hip-hop, another favors country and yet another can’t get enough post-punk rock. This year, however, those same seven writers submitted lists with a bit more in common.
While most vocalists make the mistake of either strictly adhering to the American Songbook or flailing away in improvisations, Cecile McLorin Salvant showed that it is possible to embrace both worlds of tradition and art as she deftly demonstrated at UCSB Campbell Hall Wednesday night.
The usual setup of Cecile McLorin Salvant and Aaron Diehl’s working trio, with bassist Paul Sikivie and drummer Lawrence Leathers, was for this project expanded to an octet
Audiences familiar with Cécile McLorin Salvant’s work already know to expect a unique performance, with one of the artist’s trademark moves being a tendency to switch up her set list as the mood strikes.
Winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk Competition, Cecile McLorin Salvant performs her interpretations of the standards and shares some original songs, too.
"I was fascinated with the idea of a dream- like a dream that you have at night while you’re sleeping, and the whole idea of sleeping into another world. And how that’s still linked to your waking life."
Rising vocal sensation Cécile McLorin Salvant is not the first young Grammy Award-winner to warmly thank her parents for their early and unwavering musical support. But she may well be one of the first to suggest, with a broad smile, that a certain degree of fear may also have been also a factor.
Vocal jazz is as popular as ever, and as critically underrated as ever -- no surprise, given that the majority of its practitioners are women. With her Friday afternoon set, Cécile McLorin-Salvant showed once again how foolish that divide is with a truly exceptional rendition of Duke Ellington’s "Sophisticated Lady"
“...the crowd goes wild. They loved her and you will too. If you zone her out (not easy to do) and pay attention to the trio, you’ll feel the same about them too.”
There are still innovative artist-created music videos, but in the modern age, all the musician can really control is the song — what’s done with it once it’s in the world is anyone’s guess. Here are critics’ picks of the best music videos of 2015
... this year's win by 26-year-old jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, who lost out in the jazz vocal category in her first nomination in 2014 but came back to earn honors this year for her lauded album "For One to Love." Salvant beat out albums by Lorraine Feather, Karrin Allyson, Denise Donatelli and Jamison Ross.
“She makes the song her world and then uses her well-developed instrument to let others feel genuine emotions from that world, reveal the lessons from that world. And she has a marvelous and confident sense of taste.”
"Cécile McLorin Salvant, who recently turned 28, can do it all: she sings standard ballads, upbeat bop and pop, feisty anthems, earthy blues; before turning exclusively to jazz, she also studied Baroque and classical singing..."
The stage show is still where it’s possible to take the full measure of a performer, whether at a D.I.Y. party or an arena. Here, from the jazz and pop critics at The New York Times, are hundreds of 2015 concert experiences boiled down to 40
This September, McLorin Salvant released For One to Love, and, as much as the new album continues with the tradition of the jazz and pop standards she has become known for, the now 2016 Grammy-nominated For One to Love is different. It’s an effort of, well, love.
In an age when singing the blues has been so thoroughly subsumed and reconfigured within other American pop-music traditions, when a main stem has become an offshoot branch, how is a self-aware jazz vocalist supposed to sell out emotionally — and expect to sell it to a wide audience?
At just 28, jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant has already been lauded by the music industry, including its figurehead Wynton Marsalis, who said that a singer of her caliber only comes by “once in a generation or two.”