Monthly Archive for: ‘June, 2016’

Mac1072 Cecile Mclorin Salvant Pr190 300dpirgb By John Abbott

Cecile McLorin Salvant – new jazz royalty

Cecile McLorin Salvant
Yoshi’s Oakland, San Francisco, CA, June 12, 2016

Since I last reviewed this internationally acclaimed jazz singer, she’s won a Best Jazz Vocal
Grammy Award for For One To Love and the Jazz Journalist Association Jazz Awards ‘Female Singer of the Year’. It’s all much deserved.

Salvant, who loves little heard songs from the 20’s and 30’s, brings a strong blues background to her eclectic style, evidenced on Blanche Calloway’s “Growlin’ Dan”. Her take on this bawdy tale of Minnie the Moocher finds Cecile eliciting deep guttural growls that come from deep within.  Her take on the racially sensitive “You Bring Out the Savage in Me” is playful and wild with Lawrence Leathers laying down a serious tribal rhythm.

Great American Songbook tunes like Frank Loesser’s “Never Will I Marry”, Rodgers and Hart’s “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was”, and “The Trolley Song” (Frank Blane/Hugh Martin) are recast into flighty jazz swings that move at sometimes dizzying speed. Aaron Deihl on piano, Paul Sikivie on bass and Lawrence Leathers sustain an impossibly high level of technique for each arrangement, matched by Cecile’s ultra-creative take on jazz vocals.

Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Wives and Lovers”, a marital advice hit from the 70’s, gets a sly sarcastic rebuke from Salvant, who can’t possibly believe that wives should remain attractive and attentive to their chauvinistic hubbies. Her humor is also found on Sheldon Harnick’s witty “The Ballad of the Shape of Things”. Salvant accentuates the oblique geometric references (a garment thin/that fastens with a safety pin for a diaper) with to heighten the droll humor. Irving Berlin’s “The Best Thing for You (Would Be Me)” from Call Me Madam becomes a strong declaration of self-assuredness.

And Cecile McLorin Salvant is playing with a full deck of self-confidence. Her talent and maturity-beyond-her years has earned her both critical and commercial success. She and collaborators Aaron, Paul and Lawrence are setting a very high bar in the jazz world these days. More power to them.