Cécile McLorin Salvant: WomanChild

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Cécile McLorin Salvant
LABELS: Mack Avenue
ALBUM TITLE: Cécile McLorin Salvant: WomanChild
WORKS: WomanChild
PERFORMER: Cécile McLorin Salvant (vocals, piano), Aaron Diehl (piano), Rodney Whitaker (bass), James Chrillo (guitar, banjo), Herlin Riley (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: MAC1072

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The 23-year-old French-American singer Cécile McLorin Salvant is being fêted as the next big thing in the field of female jazz singers. She certainly stands out, her expressive vocal stylings harking back to the golden age of jazz – in fact more than one era. In this assured debut she tackles it all, from a baleful Bessie Smith blues to self-penned impressionism. In between she stretches the seams on trusted standards and then surprises with leftfield choices like the raucous burlesque tune ‘You Bring Out The Savage In Me’.

She switches easily from the gravitational pull of Sarah Vaughan to the suggestive swing of Anita O’Day, the knowing comedy of Colpix Records-era Nina Simone to the bohemian outpouring of Abbey Lincoln. So while this debut is a thrilling ride through female jazz vocal history, Ms McLorin Salvant needs to find her own identity – because she’s got everything else going for her.

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Garry Booth