Music Preview: CÉCILE MCLORIN SALVANT (The Soraya and Irvine Barclay)

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by Tony Frankel on February 21, 2018

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles


Hooray and hallelujah! Long before her newest disc, Dreams and Daggers — a live double-CD set that won the 2018 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album — I have always been a fan of jazz vocalist and song interpreter extraordinaire Cécile McLorin Salvant. But seeing her live at the Broad in Santa Monica earlier this month has not only cemented my opinion that this is the most exciting thing in all music — not just jazz — to come along in decades. She is this generation’s most mesmerizing, fascinating, and supreme songstress. Yes, she has that remarkably distinctive voice, but it’s supported by a personality which is an amalgam of combinations: old soul/young upstart; waggish/serious; and controlled/improvisational. On April 18 and 19 (at The Soraya in Northridge) and April 20 (at Irvine Barclay), you will get a rare opportunity to see her before she sets out on a globetrotting tour. She will restore your faith in original singer/songwriters who value great songs and storytelling.

I’ll have the announcement later about who is accompanying Salvant (she has recorded with Jean-François Bonnel’s Paris Quintet on Cécile (2009), and has recorded and toured with the Aaron Diehl trio; I saw her perform with the Bill Charlap trio), but here’s what you need to know: She will sell out…and soon.

And as a bonus, The Soraya, which is quickly becoming one of the most popular art venues in California, will be closing its large house and creating an intimate New York-style jazz club cabaret on stage (mingling encouraged) with three seating choices: Tables, risers, or standing (food and drink will be available to enjoy during the performance).

And can we talk about fascinating material? Salvant’s natural curiosity for the history of American music and the connections between jazz, vaudeville, blues, and folk music, informs her unique performance style, which often includes rarely recorded, forgotten songs with strong stories. So, along with standards, sharp original pieces, and lesser-known titles by well-known composers, this savvy singer — in her own idiosyncratic style — brings to our attention overlooked material from African-American artists: On her CD, she covers tunes by Spencer Williams, Buddy “Since I Fell for You” Rogers, and Ida Cox, a Depression-era vaudeville and blues singer and tent show performer.

Also, the French-Haitian Miami-born 28-year-old plays piano, and sings in French and Spanish. So while the program will be announced from the stage, expect bits and pieces of everything. Picking up where Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald left off, honoring but not imitating them, Cécile McLorin Salvant — fearless and a little shy — isn’t the next best thing, she is the best.

photo by Mark Fitton courtesy of Kurland Agency

Cécile McLorin Salvant
The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts
at CSUN (California State University, Northridge) (The Soraya)
18111 Nordhoff Street in Northridge
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 8
Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 8
for tickets, call 818.677.3000 or visit The Soraya

Irvine Barclay Theatre
4242 Campus Drive in Irvine
Friday, April 20, 2018 at 8
for tickets, call 949.854.4646 x1 or visit The Barclay

order Daggers and Dreams on AmazoniTunes, and Spotify
for more info and tour dates, visit Cécile McLorin Salvant

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