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Cécile McLorin Salvant, live!

By Abigail Church |

Blessed with the most original jazz voice of her generation...

Album after album, Cecile McLorin Salvant reminds us that she’s anything but the stereotypical “jazz singer”. Revealed to the public in 2013 with her gorgeous WomanChild, she stepped it up a gear two years later with For One To Love, an even more masterful and complete record, on which her voice worked wonders. Born on August 28th, 1989 in Miami, Florida, she studied French law, baroque and vocal jazz in Aix-en-Provence before winning the Thelonious Monk International Competition in 2010 (at only 20, in front of a jury composed of Al Jarreau, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Patti Austin, Dianne Reeves and Kurt Elling!). She went on to display impressive qualities as a composer as well with five original songs on her 2015 album.

With Dreams And Dagger the French-American, who now lives in Harlem, is releasing a third album recorded live at Village Vanguard, the New York Mecca of jazz, and at the DiMenna Center, supported by her faithful trio (pianist Aaron Diehl, bass player Paul Sikivie and drummer Lawrence Leathers) and some guests on a few tracks, such as Quatuor Catalyst and pianist Sullivan Fortner. A real choice for the artist, who wishes she could only record live albums, the context in which her band’s sound is most faithfully presented.

More classic in its form than her two previous works, Dreams And Dagger is proof of her fluency no matter the repertoire. For a classic like My Man’s Gone Now, for which thousands of versions already exist, she embarks with her voice on unique paths, to astounding effect! Furthermore, Cecile McLorin Salvant fully bonds with her trio, which isn’t just a simple stooge for her amazing voice, but an essential part of her musical world. Once again, she blazes an even deeper trail, far from the Billie/Sarah/Ella Holy Trinity, because as Wynton Marsalis put it: “You only get a singer like this once in a generation or two…”.

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