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Bebop Spoken There

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

From the Village Hotel to the Village Vanguard! CD Review: Cécile McLorin Salvant - Dreams and Daggers

Cécile McLorin Salvant (vocals); Aaron Diehl (piano); Paul Sikivie (bass); Lawrence Leathers (drums); Catalyst String Quartet; Sullivan Fortner (piano).
(Review by Lance).
The main jazz action this weekend is at Whitley Bay where the annual Mike Durham's Classic Jazz Party has taken over the Village Hotel. Back in 2010, Cécile McLorin Salvant played to a packed room at the event and every man, woman and child, myself included, fell in love with her. That same year, in New York, she picked up the prestigious Monk Award - her star was in the ascendancy.
A couple of more visits to the northeast charted her progress and, on her final visit in 2013, Debra Milne caught up with her.
So, given Cécile's links with Whitley Bay, this double CD (or triple LP) came up for review at just the right time.
Recorded partly at the Village Vanguard in NYC and partly in the Michigan based Mack Avenue Studio I've come to the conclusion that Cécile is perhaps the best jazz singer in the world today and this is only her fourth album. To draw a parallel, if Diana Krall is Ella Fitzgerald then Cécile is Billie Holiday.
She's a blues singer, a jazz singer and, if they still have them, a torch singer. The complete package, the real deal.
A voice as captivating as any I've ever heard. Soft and sensuous, bold and belting, but always apropos the lyric, the mood and the melody.
Needless to say, the backing is of the highest with Aaron Diehl a pianist to reckon with at any level. Sikivie not only does the bass lines but also the arrangements whilst Leathers is heard to advantage throughout. The studio tracks are with the Catalyst Quartet and add a more sombre dimension without in anyway diminishing the appeal.
Such was the prolonged applause at the Village Vanguard an encore was inevitable and You're Getting to be a Habit With Me a most appropriate one - it's a habit I shan't be breaking.
In years to come, long after we're gone and the list of the all-time great jazz vocal albums is finally etched in stone, Dreams and Daggers will be pretty high on that list.
If you only intend to buy one jazz album in your life buy this one! Trouble is that then you'll want the previous three and all of the subsequent ones!
Lance.
Disc1: And Yet, Devil May Care, Mad About the Boy, Sam Jones' Blues, More, Never Will I Marry, Somehow I Never Could Believe, If a Girl Isn't Pretty (like Miss Atlantic City!), Red Instead, Runnin' Wild, Best Thing For You Would be me.
Disc 2: You're my Thrill, I Didn't Know What Time it Was, Tell me What They're Saying Isn't True, Nothing Like You, You've Got to Give me Some, The Worm, My Man's Gone Now, Let's Face the Music and Dance, Si J'étais Blanche, Fascination, Wild Women Don't Have the Blues, You're Getting to be a Habit With me.
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