Cécile McLorin Salvant
I’ve already written previously how much I admire Cécile McLorin Salvant.
Her first two albums show that not only she is an outstanding singer, but that she really has deep musical insight and a very strong personality.
If she’s already great on album, I presumed she must be even better live.
So I was very happy to be able to see her yesterday during her European tour.
Live at Volkshaus Basel, November 17, 2015
Cécile had her band from the latest album with her, the great Aaron Diehl (mentioned here already) on piano, Paul Sikivie on bass, and Lawrence Leathers on drums.
I always had the feeling listening to her albums that she is an artist that really needed the incremental freedom of a live concert, and what I saw was fully confirming this hypothesis.
She took her songs, many from her albums, but also some new ones, and turned them into something sometimes even larger than life.
A big part here is her outstanding stage presence. I don’t know how she does it, at the age of 26, but she just owned the audience. At some point she just started laughing, infecting even Diehl by this, and the audience just loved it.
Obviously, having a great band helped. Aaron Diehl is a true virtuoso. Luckily, many songs started as duets between Diehl and Salvant, and those intimate moments were among the best times of the evening.
That said, the rest of her rhythm section is outstanding as well. Unfortunately, Lawrence only got to solo rarely, but when he did, it was impressive. And Paul Sikivie on bass was amazing (I’m very jealous about his coolness, he looked like a 30 year younger version of Tommy Lee Jones in Man in Black, if you get the picture).
Already from her albums I was impressed by the range of her songs, but you got everything from Cole Porter Standards I get a kick out of you to Burt Bacharach’s great Wives and Lovers.
But my absolute favorite was her second encore, Gordon Jenkins Goodbye, in duo with Paul Sikivie.
Her tour continues, if she comes anywhere near you, this is a must see!
You will find pictures of the event on Céciles Facebook page