TAS Super LP List! Special Merit: Informal
180g Double LP Available on Vinyl for the First Time! Includes Previously Unreleased Tracks!
Michael Fremer Rated 10/11 Music, 10/11 Sound in his July 2014 reviews on www.analogplanet.com!
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. If anything, it has intensified in the months leading up to the launch of her Mack Avenue Records debut, WomanChild.
"She has poise, elegance, soul, humor, sensuality, power, virtuosity, range, insight, intelligence, depth and grace," Wynton Marsalis asserts. "I've never heard a singer of her generation who has such a command of styles," remarks pianist Aaron Diehl. "She radiates authority."
Yet at almost every step of the way, McLorin Salvant has followed a different path from her peers. Born in Miami to a French mother and Haitian father, McLorin Salvant's first language was French. She immersed herself in the classical music tradition, long before she turned to jazz starting on piano at age 5 and joining the Miami Choral Society at age 8. When it came time for college, McLorin Salvant bypassed all the U.S. conservatories and jazz schools, heading instead to Aix-en-Provence in France, where she continued to develop as a singer, but with an emphasis on classical and baroque vocal music as well as jazz.
There, thousands of miles away from jazz's land of origin, McLorin Salvant entered into a fruitful partnership with reed player and teacher Jean-Francois Bonnel, first as a student and soon as a performer. Before returning to the U.S., she gave concerts in Paris, recorded with Bonnel's quintet, and immersed herself in the early jazz and blues vocal tradition. By the time she returned to her home country to take the stage in the Monk Competition, she had drawn on this unusual set of formative experiences in shaping a personal style of jazz singing, surprising and dramatic by turns, and very much in contrast to that of the other participants and McLorin Salvant's contemporaries.
On WomanChild, McLorin Salvant draws on songs spanning three centuries of American music. "I like to choose songs that are a little unknown or have been recorded very few times," McLorin Salvant notes. "While these songs aren't recognized as standards, many should be because they are so beautifully crafted."
On the album, her repertoire ranges from the 19th century ballad "John Henry," refreshed in a spirited up-to-date arrangement, to McLorin Salvant's own 21st century waltz "Le Front Cache? Sur Tes Genoux" which draws on a poem by Haitian writer Ida Salomon Faubert for its lyric. She is joined by a world class band who share her concern for creating jazz of today by drawing on vibrant traditions of the past: pianist Aaron Diehl and bassist Rodney Whitaker (both of whom are Mack Avenue label mates), guitarist James Chirillo and master drummer Herlin Riley.
On WomanChild, McLorin Salvant gives music lovers the chance to hear why the illustrious judges at the Monk Competition gave her top honors. McLorin Salvant is still a bit of a mystery, but she will hardly be a secret any longer.
"Her phrasing and timing are locked in yet loose and supple; her range seems unlimited. She literally creates a fresh breeze that you will feel before the end of the opener...You will fall in love the first play through, with both the musical performances and the sonics." -Michael Fremer, analogplanet.com, Music 10/11, Sound 10/11
"If anyone can extend the lineage of the Big Three--Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald--it is this 23-year-old virtuoso..." -Stephen Holden, New York Times
"Few jazz debuts by singers or instrumentalists make this big a splash...Salvant doesn't need to try to knock us out. We're already knocked out." -Kevin Whitehead, NPR "Fresh Air"
"To hear this album is to be transported by both the skill and the magic of the human voice." -Ken Richardson, Sound and Vision
"Fortunately, Salvant's hotly anticipated Mack Avenue label debut more than justifies the hype." -Chris Loudon, JazzTimes
Available for the first time on vinyl
Includes 2 unreleased tracks
Cecile McLorin Salvant, vocals, piano on "Jitterbug Waltz"
Aaron Diehl, piano
Rodney Whitaker, double bass
Herlin Riley, drums
James Chirillo, guitar, banjo
LP 1 - Side 1:
1. St. Louis Gal
2. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
LP 1 - Side 2:
1. Le Front Cache Sur Tes Genoux
2. Prelude / There's A Lull In My LIfe
3. You Bring Out The Savage In Me
4. Baby Have Pity On Me
LP 2 - Side 3:
1. John Henry
2. Take It Right Back (Previously Unreleased)
3. Mean To Me (Previously Unreleased)
LP 2 - Side 4:
1. Jitterbug Waltz
2. What A Little Moonlight Can Do
3. Deep Dark Blue