There’s little dispute who the jazz singing discovery of the past decade was: Cecile McLorin Salvant. In 2010, she won both the Thelonious Monk International vocal competition and the virtual unanimous allegiance of every musician and critic who heard her.
Her first appearance on disc was performing John Lennon’s “Oh My Love” on Jacky Terrasson’s disc, where she sounded vaguely like Madeleine Peyroux. When her first complete disc, “WomanChild,” came out, we discovered how tiny a representation of her talent that was. This is one of the most expressive and moving jazz singers to come along in a very long time – a young (24) but electric master of the art of jazz song whose work is way beyond dinnertime background music. Here was a singer unearthing juicy jazz repertoire from 1935 and doing original things on “John Henry” and “What a Little Moonlight Can Do.”
She has never appeared in Buffalo. In one of the most exciting jazz events in Buffalo in a while, she’ll come to the Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz series at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery auditorium. At 7 p.m., Macy Favor – longtime WBFO mainstay in its jazz era and band leader at the Colored Musicians Club – will discuss “Favor’s Favorites: A Life in Jazz.”
– Jeff Simon