|Cecile McLorin Salvant|
Being a spoilt person, having the job that I have, and love, and live for, each night I am presented with a broad spectrum the world of jazz, soul, fusion, gospel, zydeco (not often) etc, etc. And for the most part, it’s sublime. Some artists are a more than mandatory staple and always a joy to receive, some are new upstarts with a life moving towards influence, innovation and inspiration; some are merely providing the wonderful service of coaxing people otherwise indifferent to jazz into the world by safely helping them dip their toes in the water...
And then there’s that other thing.
It happens when Terence Blanchard rigs his horn up to mic effects and gives you an overwhelming sense of fear, desperation, loss and HOPE, all within 3 notes. When Wynton Marsalis uses a mute to dance the sound and air around his cornet and play with it and you can almost see the stream of flow in the air. When The Mingus Big Band completely level a room and you still have Philip Harper sitting at the bar with his horn playing a call and response, giving them a lesson or five to the boys on the late late show. When Stanley Clarke and Stuart Copeland take you into that other-worldly place, where the end of the universe is just the beginning… Just some examples, mind. But they’re something…
They’re Masters of Sound.
And I just saw another one. And she’s young as hell. But her voice is why a lot of people SHOULDN’T sing after they hit their range on a low ceiling… And why a lot of kids should try their hand at it and discover something incredible that they have yet to master. She’s in the realms of setting standards. And she’s only just begun.
Don’t try watching her stuff online, unfortunately the people who have so valiantly attempted to capture what she does fall short (so far…ha). It doesn’t do her justice. It just demonstrates that she has an incredible command of her vocal range, yes. But that’s only a fragment of what she can do. You have to be IN THE ROOM. She jumps from an impatient, indignant bolshie child to a commanding, powerful, authoritative mother figure in a leap of a phrase. And it’s nothing short of absolutely f***ing awesome. Hilarious in the most exquisite way. Sometimes so endearing its borderline sickening, but just short of it, mind. But you’ll smile. And your eyes will be wide. And yours ears won’t believe what is happening.
Cecile McLorin Salvant, you’re one of those people I’m gonna tell my friend's kids about, when I say ‘Oh, I will never forget the first time I saw her….’
(*) We have also cleared publication of this article with Ronnie Scott's management.