Cecile McLorin Salvant
Every once in a while, a young jazz artist appears on the scene fully formed, with her own sound and sensibility, and takes audiences by storm. That’s what 24-year-old Cécile McLorin Salvant has been doing. Along with last year’s Chicago Jazz Festival sensation, Gregory Porter, she has brought crowd-pleasing exuberance and charisma back to jazz vocals.
Raised in Miami by a Haitian father and French-Guadeloupian mother, Salvant had no real background in jazz when she went to study classical music and political science in France. Exposed to all manner of musical styles, she immersed herself in the music of early-20th century greats such as Bessie Smith, Bert Williams and Valaida Snow. After winning the 2010 Thelonious Monk Jazz Vocals Competition, she wasted no time reaching her potential: WomanChild, her spectacular 2013 major label debut, was a critical smash.
Salvant, who sings in French and Spanish as well as English, has stunning range and an unerring knack for stretching words and phrases. You never known what you’re going to hear from her. Typical sets have ranged from the 19th century folk ballad “John Henry” to the jazz standard “Autumn in New York” to her setting of Haitian poet Ida Faubert’s 1930′s work, “Le Front Caché Sur Tes Genoux,” to a transformative reading of “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” to her own “Woman Child,” inspired by the late Abbey Lincoln. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.