Cécile McLorin Salvant to Perform at WHBPAC, 8/10
A young jazz singer of radical talent, Ms. McLorin Salvant's velvety voice radiates the confidence and poise of a mature artist. The buzz began almost immediately after she walked away as the youngest winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition in 2010. In no time, she was touring with Wynton Marsalis & the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra which now uses McLorin Salvant as a cover girl for its New York City subway posters and 2013-'14 season brochure. It's no wonder she's been compared with some of the greatest jazz singers of all time.
"Her remarkable showing in this year's Critics Poll - not only topping the Jazz Album and Female Vocalist categories but also Rising Star Jazz Artist and Rising Star Female Vocalist - is the exclamation point to a meteoric rise that began only four short years ago," says Downbeat Magazine.
"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," critic Ben Ratliff wrote in The New York Times in response to one of her post-competition performances, and a few weeks later his colleague Stephen Holden announced that "Ms. McLorin Salvant has it all.... If anyone can extend the lineage of the Big Three-Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald-it is this 23-year-old virtuoso."
Born in Miami to a French mother and Haitian father, she immersed herself in the classical music tradition, long before she turned to jazz-starting on piano at age five and joining the Miami Choral Society at age eight. When it came time for college, McLorin Salvant bypassed all the US conservatories and jazz schools, heading instead to Aix-en-Provence in France, where she continued to develop as a singer.
Her first U.S. album, the Grammy nominated WomanChild, 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."
Knowledgeable jazz fans will identify the influence and inspiration from some of the most distinctive modern jazz stylists, such as Betty Carter, Carmen McRae and Abbey Lincoln. McLorin Salvant is a seeker and a creative spirit who is determined to push ahead, even while she shows an extraordinary command of the tradition that has preceded her. An old soul, she makes classic songs sound utterly new.