Highly Recommended Concert: CÉCILE MCLORIN SALVANT (Samueli Hall at Segerstrom)

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by Tony Frankel on January 11, 2024

in Concerts / Events,Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-Regional

Hooray and hallelujah! Long before her CDs Ghost Song, The Window, and Dreams and Daggers — winning three consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album after being nominated in 2014 for her WomanChild — I have always been a fan of jazz vocalist and song interpreter extraordinaire Cécile McLorin Salvant. But seeing her live five times now has 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. As part of an international tour, you will get a rare opportunity to see her at Segerstrom Center on January 20 at 7 & 9pm before she sets out to regions beyond. In fact, this is her only So Cal performance listed for 2024. She will restore your faith in original singer/songwriters who value great songs and storytelling.

“She has poise, elegance, soul, humor, sensuality, power, virtuosity, range, insight, intelligence, depth and grace,” Wynton Marsalis asserts. “You get a singer like this once in a generation or two.”

In her latest project, Mélusine — which is nominated for Best Vocal Album at the 2024 Grammys — the brilliant jazz vocalist, composer, lyricist, and artist weaves a tale of women’s secrecy under the male gaze. Salvant takes as her inspiration the European folk legend of Mélusine, the woman cursed to spend one day each week as a half-snake. It’s a fascinating song cycle from one of today’s most acclaimed singers in any genre. She will no doubt offer a few cuts from this, but every time I’ve seen her, she shakes it up. For this performance, she will be joined by bassist Yasushi Nakamura, drummer Savannah Harris, and Sullivan Fortner, who is hands-down the most exciting jazz pianist on the scene. I was lucky enough to catch his trio at Small’s in NYC last month, and just seeing him alone is worth the price of admission. Do not, do not, do not miss this show.

Cécile McLorin Salvant (photo by Karolis Kaminskas)

Cécile McLorin Salvant Quartet
Samueli Hall
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
plays January 20, 2024 at 7 & 9pm
for tickets, call 714.556.2787 or visit SCFTA
for more info, visit Cécile McLorin Salvant

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