Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Listening booth: Catherine Russell, Cecile McLorin Salvant & Stacey Kent

Our selections at Daedalus Books and Music often focus on the pioneers of jazz, but we also strive to spotlight emerging singers who continue to build on the traditions in fresh ways. To me these three singers represent the cutting edge of jazz and popular song artistry.
In Bring It Back, Catherine Russell takes jazz, blues, and swing idioms and makes them her own, coloring her voice and approach to enrich each style. Plus the band and the arrangements are to die for. You can see the some of the early raves in my blurb, and I'm sure more acclaim will be forthcoming. Her musical formula? “The freedom to sing the blues, over a swing beat, with a jazz band.” Below, “Public Melody Number One” and an overview of the album.

Cecile McLorin Salvant's interpretations on WomanChild are of such a high order that they enter the realm of art song. Her delightfully symbiotic relationship with pianist Aaron Diehl are on display in these selections, as they address "If This Isn't Love," Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz," and the Bert Williams classic "Nobody."

Stacey Kent's song choices in The Changing Lights are equally luminous and diverse. Here's her rendition of Roberto Menescal's bossa nova classic "O Barquinho" ("My Little Boat").

My little boat is like a note
Bouncin' merrily along
Hear it splashing up a song
The sails are white
The sky is bright
Headin' out into the blue
With a crew of only two
Where we can share
Love's salty air
On a little paradise that's afloat
Not a care have we
In my little boat

The wind is still
We feel the thrill
Of a voyage heaven-bound
Though we only drift around
Warmed by the sun
Two hearts as one
Beating with enchanted bliss
Melting in each other's kiss

When daylight ends and slyly sends
Little stars that twinkle brightly above
It's goodbye to my little boat of love . . .

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