One of the most distinctive and innovative singers and composers in jazz of this generation, Cécile McLorin Salvant, delivered a beautiful performance for CONVOS Purdue Convocations at the Loeb Playhouse in West Lafayette on September 29, 2022.

Cécile McLorin Salvant’s accolades are validated by her 2020 MacArthur Fellow selection and as a three-time Grammy Award winner and numerous other awards in the past decade.  She was the first prize winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010, releasing her first album, Cécile, shortly thereafter, while her trajectory upwards has continued ever since.

Her exceptionally talented band included American Pianists Association 2015 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz, Sullivan Fortner (piano), Keita Ogawa (percussion), Marvin Sewell (guitar), Alexa Tarantino (flutes), and the fabulous Yasushi Nakamura (bass).  Fortner also provided many of the song’s amazing arrangements for the band this evening.

Beginning with the original and unique tune “Fog,” Salvant was delightful throughout the night, often incorporating storytelling with the rich interpretations of her songs as represented by the dramatic “Barbara’s Song.” With several original tunes, including  “Wild is Love” and  “Thunderclouds,”  there were also the familiar and yet unique “Over the Rainbow,” the jazz standard “Star Eyes,” and the tune “Some People” from the musical Gypsy.  Adding to the diverse setlist, Salvant also reimagined songs with Gregory Porter’s “No Love Dying” and Sting’s “Until.”

Salvant is known for rejecting traditional jazz standards and embracing theatre and creating inventive renditions of tunes across many genres of music.  Her new album, Ghost Song, combines the sounds of jazz, folk melodies, and blues – a conceptual album about love, loss, and what it means to be alive – and a departure from the jazz and standards repertoire of her last three albums.

Whatever the project from Salvant, I expect we will see her continue to experiment with the music and to push boundaries in the future with the tremendous support of the MacArthur grant allowing her to go in any direction she chooses.  I look forward very much to that next time.  

For more on Purdue's Convos, go here >

For more on Cecile, go here > 

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