Ascendant Jazz Diva
Cécile McLorin Salvant was born and raised in Miami, Florida of a French mother and a Haitian father. She started classical piano studies at 5, and began singing in the Miami Choral Society at 8. Early on, she developed an interest in classical voice, began studying with private instructors, and later with Edward Walker, vocal teacher at the University of Miami.
In 2007, Cécile moved to Aix-en-Provence, France, to study law as well as classical and baroque voice at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory. It was in Aix-en-Provence, with reedist and teacher Jean-François Bonnel, that she started learning about improvisation, instrumental and vocal repertoire ranging from the 1910s on, and sang with her first band. In 2009, after a series of concerts in Paris, she recorded her first album “Cécile”, with Jean-François Bonnel’s Paris Quintet. A year later, she won the Thelonious Monk competition in Washington D.C.
Cécile performs unique interpretations of unknown and scarcely recorded jazz and blues compositions. She focuses on a theatrical portrayal of the jazz standard and composes music and lyrics which she also sings in French, her native language as well as in Spanish. She enjoys popularity in Europe and in the United States, performing in clubs, concert halls, and festivals
Cécile has performed at numerous festivals such as Jazz à Vienne, Ascona, Whitley Bay, Montauban, Foix, with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in New York’s Lincoln Center and Chicago’s Symphony Center and with her own band at the Kennedy Center, the Spoleto Jazz Festival, Detroit Jazz Festival and other venues.
“She has poise, elegance, soul, humor, sensuality, power, virtuosity, range, insight, intelligence, depth and grace,” Wynton Marsalis asserts. “I’ve never heard a singer of her generation who has such a command of styles,” remarks pianist Aaron Diehl. “She radiates authority,” critic Ben Ratliff wrote in The New York Times in response to one of her post-competition performances, and a few weeks later his colleague Stephen Holden announced that “Ms. McLorin Salvant has it all…. If anyone can extend the lineage of the Big Three—Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald—it is this virtuoso.”
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“Salvant is quite something to behold… an extraordinarily versatile voice“ -Herald Scotland
“She’s the latest answer to the question of what jazz has to do with you.” – New York Times
“Her voice clamps into each song, performing careful variations on pitch, stretching words but generally not scatting; her face conveys meaning, representing sorrow or serenity like a silent movie actor.” -New York Times