Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 13, No.3, 2014

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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Bernard Dubé
  Contributing Editors
David Solway
Louis René Beres
Nancy Snipper
Farzana Hassan
Daniel Charchuk
Samuel Burd
Andrée Lafontaine
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Serge Gamache Emanuel Pordes
Diane Gordon
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Chantal Levesque Denis Beaumont
Marcel Dubois
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Jazz Contributors

Tommy Emmanuel
John Stetch
Susie Arioli
Coral Egan
Diana Krall
Stacey Kent
Carol Welsman
Aldo Romano
Denzal Sinclaire
Madeleine Peyroux
Bireli Lagrene
Sonido Isleño
Provost & Lachapelle
Kevin Breit
Sophie Milman
Annie Poulain
Badi Assad
Donato & Bouchard
Ingrid Jensen
John Roney
Russell Malone
David Binney
Kurt Rosenwinkel
Mimi Fox
Voo Doo Scat
Coral Egan
Martin Taylor
Jordan Officer
Melody Gardot
Jean Vanasse
Yves Léveillé
Sylvain Provost
Louciana Souza
Patricia Barber
Jill Barber
Corrine Bailey Rae
Chet Doxas
François Bourassa
Sylvain Luc
Neil Cowley
Marianne Trudel
Florence K
Terez Montcalm
Cyrus Chestnut
Tord Gustavsen
Sarah MK
Julie Lamontagne
Vincent Gagnon
Arioli & Officer
Jean Félix Mailloux
Vijay Iyer
Lionel Loueke
Tia Fuller
2010 Montreal Guitar Show (Sylvan Luc)
2008 Jazz en Rafale Festival (Montreal) - Mar. 27th - April 5th -- Tél. 514-490-9613 ext-101 (featuring David Binney)
Montreal Jazz Festival 2010







Piano Keyboard


by Robert J. Lewis


The Montreal Jazz Festival has always taken pride in discovering and launching the careers of new talent. Both Winton Marsalis and Diane Krall -- when in their early 20s -- used the Montreal Jazzfest to kick-start their hugely successful international careers.

For the 35th edition of the 2014 Montreal International Jazz Festival , the festival programmers are placing their bets on Florida-born singer (of French and Haitian parentage), Cécile McLorin Salvant. Her passion and mission are twofold: to infuse new life into the standards and to revive those that have been either forgotten or neglected. For this labour of love, she has all the right equipment which begins and ends with a striking, exciting, and sometimes extraordinary voice aided and abetted by an exceptional range.

Depending on the song, it doesn’t take long to discover that she has many voices, which leaves her vulnerable to the accusation that she has yet to discover her proper one, a criticism which does not stand up to concert scrutiny. If you haven’t caught her live, check out her youtube videos: this young lady – not yet 25 -- can sing 16 tons. The multiplicity of voices, or rather the many shades of the dexterous instrument that she calls her own, are the very natural and gratifying response to the ever changing content of a song's lyric. Depending on the moment, her voice can spin silk or spit out hemp: she can be sweet, sad, angry, cocky, coquettish and downright serious: theatrical yes, but never mannered. Her version of “This Isn’t Love” is the perfect sounding board for an exceptional range and vocal elasticity that owes its influences to Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McCrae among others.

Her voice is smooth and creamy in the lower register, and unusually comfortable in the high range, which precludes having to resort to falsetto and gives her a natural advantage over the competition, which in the context of the standards is a jungle where only the best survive. The voice-bending Billy Strayhorn classic“Lush Life” is a natural fit for Salvant all of whose facial expressions and body contortions take their cues from the heartbreaking storyline.

Among the many highlights on her most recent album, Women/Child, is “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.” The ease with which she instinctively relates to and goes with the flow of the other musicians makes you feel you’re in the presence of someone much older than her years. If the album is a study and delight throughout, it’s only misstep occurs when she takes on the ballad “There’s A Lull in My Life,” immortalized by the incomparable Chet Baker. Unless you’ve been to hell and back before you’ve turned 30, be wary of the ballads. Salvant took a chance, found herself in deep water, and still manages to win our admiration for singing what she loves to sing and taking up the challenge of narrowing the distance between one’s reach and grasp. That said and put to bed, we know the next time she records, it will make us forget about this youthful version.

Topping off what has been a year of accentuated positives, Woman/Child (released in 2013) was nominated for the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

What else is there to say other than “she’s got what it takes.” and what’s already good is already getting better.

For this year’s 2014 Montreal International Jazz Festival, she’ll be performing at l’Astral on June 26th and 27th at 9 pm.


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