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Cécile McLorin Salvant|Ghost Song

Ghost Song

Cécile McLorin Salvant

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Six albums into a career that continues to push limits and creative boundaries, Brooklyn-based vocalist and pianist Cécile McLorin Salvant, shows yet again that no genre pigeonhole or can define her vision. She's a wide-ranging creative on a quest to find new contexts for her vocal stylistics which shade towards the nimble coloratura soprano end of the spectrum. Self-produced by Salvant, Ghost Song was recorded at Brooklyn's Bunker Studio and St. Malachy's Church in Manhattan by Todd Whitelock and Patrick Dillet in 2020 and early 2021, just before the pandemic made in-person recording sessions difficult. Salvant opens with a sweeping rendition of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" complete with ominous howling wind effects. Her rising, unaccompanied vocals simultaneously borrow from sinuous Arabic music and ringing Gregorian chant. That's followed by a clever and unexpected mashup of a neglected bit of the Wizard of Oz soundtrack, "Optimistic Voices" ("You're out of the woods/ You're out of the dark/ You're out of the night/ Step into the sun/ Step into the light"), where she's accompanied by a rhythmically strummed banjo, which morphs into a cover of Gregory Porter's languid love song, "No Love Dying," with her longtime collaborator Sullivan Fortner taking over on piano and Alexa Tarantino lending a long flute solo. The music of Kurt Weill is catnip to adventurous vocalists (Lotte Lenya, Ute Lemper) and here Salvant, again accompanied by piano, flute, percussion and banjo skips and flutters through "The World is Mean." The Salvant-composed title track, with the addition of Fortner on Fender Rhodes and Marvin Sewell on guitar, opens with a solo cry before becoming a bluesy rumination on love gone wrong—a favorite subject of Salvant's. She ultimately blames herself: "My pride is my only company/ My pride will get the best of me;" it's one of her finest love songs. The tune closes with choruses of "I'll dance with the ghost of our love/ I will dance with the ghost of our long-lost love," sung by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The mode shifts again as she gets snappy and chatty in another original, "Obligation" where she ponders the interplay in relationships of guilt, resentment, and desire. Sting's "Until" gets a jazzy, vaguely Brazilian/Great American songbook-styled cover led by Fortner's piano and Tarantino's flute. Unlike many of the tunes where the accompaniment is spare and stark, a quintet accompanies this frothy frolic. A pipe organ provides the background to Salvant's "I Lost My Mind" in which her voice is overdubbed in a rhythmic, disembodied loop while she cries above. The mood turns slow and lush in her torchy ballad, "Moon Song," where her desire stirs: "Let me pine, let me yearn, let me crawl." Her solo piano piece "Trail Mix" is an effective palette cleanser before music is put to lines from an Alfred Stieglitz letter to Georgia O'Keefe in "Dead Poplar." Salvant appropriately closes Ghost Song with her convincing a capella version of the haunting English folk lament "Unquiet Grave," (covered by Ween and Joan Baez, among others). Her commanding presence, her songwriting, her eclectic mining of songs from the past, the sparse but inventive arrangements and, of course, that sprightly voice all make Cécile McLorin Salvant a singular artist on Ghost Song. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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Ghost Song

Cécile McLorin Salvant

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1
Wuthering Heights
00:02:43

Robert Hurwitz, ExecutiveProducer - Todd Whitelock, Mixer, RecordingEngineer, AssociateProducer - Catherine Bush, Writer - Cécile McLorin Salvant, Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist, Creative Director - Sullivan Fortner, CoProducer - Paul Sikivie, Production, Synthesizer, Electric Bass - Wes Whitelock, AssistantEngineer - Chris Muth, Masterer - Ben Tousley, Designer, ArtDirector - Shawn Michael Jones, Photographer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc.

2
Optimistic Voices / No Love Dying
00:07:23

Harold Arlen, Writer - Herbert Stothart, Writer - Robert Hurwitz, ExecutiveProducer - Todd Whitelock, Mixer, AssociateProducer - Patrick Dillet, RecordingEngineer - Gregory Porter, Writer - Cécile McLorin Salvant, Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist, Creative Director - Edgar Harburg, Writer - Sullivan Fortner, Piano, CoProducer - James Chirillo, Banjo - Keita Ogawa, Percussion - Alexa Tarantino, Flute - Alex Conroy, AssistantEngineer - Chris Muth, Masterer - Ben Tousley, Designer, ArtDirector - Shawn Michael Jones, Photographer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc.

3
Ghost Song
00:03:22

Robert Hurwitz, ExecutiveProducer - Todd Whitelock, Mixer, RecordingEngineer, AssociateProducer - Marvin Sewell, Guitar - Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Choir Vocals - Cécile McLorin Salvant, Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, Creative Director - Sullivan Fortner, Piano, Vocals, Fender Rhodes Keyboards, CoProducer - Keita Ogawa, Percussion - Alex Conroy, AssistantEngineer - Burniss Travis, Bass - Chris Muth, Masterer - Ben Tousley, Designer, ArtDirector - Shawn Michael Jones, Photographer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2021 Nonesuch Records Inc.

4
Obligation
00:01:32

Robert Hurwitz, ExecutiveProducer - Todd Whitelock, Mixer, RecordingEngineer, AssociateProducer - Cécile McLorin Salvant, Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, Creative Director - Sullivan Fortner, Piano, CoProducer - Kyle Poole, Drums - Paul Sikivie, Bass - Alex Conroy, AssistantEngineer - Chris Muth, Masterer - Ben Tousley, Designer, ArtDirector - Shawn Michael Jones, Photographer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc.

5
Until
00:06:31

Gordon Sumner, Writer - Robert Hurwitz, ExecutiveProducer - Todd Whitelock, Mixer, AssociateProducer - Patrick Dillet, RecordingEngineer - Cécile McLorin Salvant, Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist, Creative Director - Sullivan Fortner, Piano, CoProducer - James Chirillo, Banjo - Keita Ogawa, Percussion - Alexa Tarantino, Flute - Alex Conroy, AssistantEngineer - Chris Muth, Masterer - Ben Tousley, Designer, ArtDirector - Shawn Michael Jones, Photographer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc.

6
I Lost My Mind
00:03:40

Robert Hurwitz, ExecutiveProducer - Todd Whitelock, Mixer, RecordingEngineer, AssociateProducer - Aaron Diehl, Pipe Organ - Cécile McLorin Salvant, Producer, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, Creative Director - Sullivan Fortner, CoProducer - Alex Conroy, AssistantEngineer - Wes Whitelock, AssistantEngineer - Chris Muth, Masterer - Ben Tousley, Designer, ArtDirector - Shawn Michael Jones, Photographer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc.

7
Moon Song
00:03:04

Robert Hurwitz, ExecutiveProducer - Todd Whitelock, Mixer, RecordingEngineer, AssociateProducer - Aaron Diehl, Piano - Cécile McLorin Salvant, Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, Creative Director - Sullivan Fortner, CoProducer - Kyle Poole, Drums - Paul Sikivie, Bass - Alex Conroy, AssistantEngineer - Chris Muth, Masterer - Ben Tousley, Designer, ArtDirector - Shawn Michael Jones, Photographer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc.

8
Trail Mix
00:02:23

Robert Hurwitz, ExecutiveProducer - Todd Whitelock, Mixer, RecordingEngineer, AssociateProducer - Cécile McLorin Salvant, Producer, Piano, Writer, MainArtist, Creative Director - Sullivan Fortner, CoProducer - Alex Conroy, AssistantEngineer - Chris Muth, Masterer - Ben Tousley, Designer, ArtDirector - Shawn Michael Jones, Photographer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc.

9
The World Is Mean
00:04:48

Kurt Weill, Writer - Berthold Brecht, Writer - MARC BLITZSTEIN, Writer - Robert Hurwitz, ExecutiveProducer - Todd Whitelock, Mixer, AssociateProducer - Patrick Dillet, RecordingEngineer - Cécile McLorin Salvant, Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist, Creative Director - Sullivan Fortner, Piano, CoProducer - James Chirillo, Banjo - Keita Ogawa, Percussion - Alexa Tarantino, Flute - Alex Conroy, AssistantEngineer - Chris Muth, Masterer - Ben Tousley, Designer, ArtDirector - Shawn Michael Jones, Photographer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc.

10
Dead Poplar
00:02:36

Robert Hurwitz, ExecutiveProducer - Todd Whitelock, Mixer, RecordingEngineer, AssociateProducer - Aaron Diehl, Piano - Cécile McLorin Salvant, Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, Creative Director - Sullivan Fortner, CoProducer - Kyle Poole, Drums - Daniel Swenberg, Lute, Theorbo - Paul Sikivie, Bass - Alex Conroy, AssistantEngineer - Chris Muth, Masterer - Ben Tousley, Designer, ArtDirector - Shawn Michael Jones, Photographer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc.

11
Thunderclouds
00:03:36

Robert Hurwitz, ExecutiveProducer - Todd Whitelock, Mixer, RecordingEngineer, AssociateProducer - Marvin Sewell, Guitar - Cécile McLorin Salvant, Producer, Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, Creative Director - Sullivan Fortner, Piano, Background Vocals, CoProducer - Keita Ogawa, Percussion - Alex Conroy, AssistantEngineer - Burniss Travis, Bass - Chris Muth, Masterer - Ben Tousley, Designer, ArtDirector - Shawn Michael Jones, Photographer - Iris McLorin Picot, Vocals - Violette McLorin Picot, Vocals

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2021 Nonesuch Records Inc.

12
Unquiet Grave
00:04:20

Traditional, Writer - Robert Hurwitz, ExecutiveProducer - Todd Whitelock, Mixer, RecordingEngineer, AssociateProducer - Cécile McLorin Salvant, Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist, Creative Director - Sullivan Fortner, CoProducer - Wes Whitelock, AssistantEngineer - Chris Muth, Masterer - Ben Tousley, Designer, ArtDirector - Shawn Michael Jones, Photographer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc.

Album Description

Six albums into a career that continues to push limits and creative boundaries, Brooklyn-based vocalist and pianist Cécile McLorin Salvant, shows yet again that no genre pigeonhole or can define her vision. She's a wide-ranging creative on a quest to find new contexts for her vocal stylistics which shade towards the nimble coloratura soprano end of the spectrum. Self-produced by Salvant, Ghost Song was recorded at Brooklyn's Bunker Studio and St. Malachy's Church in Manhattan by Todd Whitelock and Patrick Dillet in 2020 and early 2021, just before the pandemic made in-person recording sessions difficult. Salvant opens with a sweeping rendition of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" complete with ominous howling wind effects. Her rising, unaccompanied vocals simultaneously borrow from sinuous Arabic music and ringing Gregorian chant. That's followed by a clever and unexpected mashup of a neglected bit of the Wizard of Oz soundtrack, "Optimistic Voices" ("You're out of the woods/ You're out of the dark/ You're out of the night/ Step into the sun/ Step into the light"), where she's accompanied by a rhythmically strummed banjo, which morphs into a cover of Gregory Porter's languid love song, "No Love Dying," with her longtime collaborator Sullivan Fortner taking over on piano and Alexa Tarantino lending a long flute solo. The music of Kurt Weill is catnip to adventurous vocalists (Lotte Lenya, Ute Lemper) and here Salvant, again accompanied by piano, flute, percussion and banjo skips and flutters through "The World is Mean." The Salvant-composed title track, with the addition of Fortner on Fender Rhodes and Marvin Sewell on guitar, opens with a solo cry before becoming a bluesy rumination on love gone wrong—a favorite subject of Salvant's. She ultimately blames herself: "My pride is my only company/ My pride will get the best of me;" it's one of her finest love songs. The tune closes with choruses of "I'll dance with the ghost of our love/ I will dance with the ghost of our long-lost love," sung by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The mode shifts again as she gets snappy and chatty in another original, "Obligation" where she ponders the interplay in relationships of guilt, resentment, and desire. Sting's "Until" gets a jazzy, vaguely Brazilian/Great American songbook-styled cover led by Fortner's piano and Tarantino's flute. Unlike many of the tunes where the accompaniment is spare and stark, a quintet accompanies this frothy frolic. A pipe organ provides the background to Salvant's "I Lost My Mind" in which her voice is overdubbed in a rhythmic, disembodied loop while she cries above. The mood turns slow and lush in her torchy ballad, "Moon Song," where her desire stirs: "Let me pine, let me yearn, let me crawl." Her solo piano piece "Trail Mix" is an effective palette cleanser before music is put to lines from an Alfred Stieglitz letter to Georgia O'Keefe in "Dead Poplar." Salvant appropriately closes Ghost Song with her convincing a capella version of the haunting English folk lament "Unquiet Grave," (covered by Ween and Joan Baez, among others). Her commanding presence, her songwriting, her eclectic mining of songs from the past, the sparse but inventive arrangements and, of course, that sprightly voice all make Cécile McLorin Salvant a singular artist on Ghost Song. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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