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WomanChild by Cecile McLorin Salvant
Released: May 2013
Label: Mack Avenue Records
Jazz fans may moan about big-competition prizes elevating copycat techniques over original voices. And fair enough -- sometimes. But this corker from 2010 Thelonious Monk Vocals Competition victor Salvant should redeem the circuit for a bit. Her rhythm is great, her range of song-style varied: She funks up "John Henry," gets the blues on "St. Louis Gal" and writes the fiery, swinging title track. And her Lincoln Center bandmates sound inspired (hear pianist Aaron Diehl's almost avant solo on "WomanChild"). Probing, serious jazz that hits pop notes with such authority deserves a prize or two.
Seth Colter Walls
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