Cecile McLorin Salvant | Univ. of Chicago Logan Center for the Arts | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Cecile McLorin Salvant

Cecile McLorin Salvant

John Abbott

Cecile McLorin Salvant Recommended Soundboard All Ages

When: Fri., Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m. 2015
Price: $35, $5 students
With her new album For One to Love (Mack Avenue), Cecile McLorin Salvant leaves no doubt that she’s this generation’s most impressive straight-ahead jazz singer. She makes it all sound easy, elucidating melodies with crisp precision, embellishing lines with grace, and playing with rhythm like a yo-yo. The voice is frequently referred to as an instrument in jazz criticism, but compared to Salvant most singers have children’s models. She modulates her vocals with dizzying effortlessness, whether adopting an unerringly wild growl on “Growlin’ Dan” or a slyly demure purr on “Stepsister’s Lament,” a song from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (one of several show tunes on the record). On these as elsewhere, Salvant imbues notes with a creamy depth or a sharp bite as she inhabits the heads of her narrators with theatrical aplomb. Her stagy qualities do throw me off on occasion—while the delivery feels natural, that doesn’t prevent it from getting a bit cloying. Still, that’s a minor quibble in the context of her stunning authority. She’s a fantastic improviser, but she cleaves to the form of her material, never letting her storytelling acumen be overwhelmed by spontaneous flights of fancy. Tonight she’s joined by pianist Adam Birnbaum, bassist Paul Sikivie, and drummer Pete Van Nostrand.
— Peter Margasak



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