Memo, or tweet, to Ben Ratliff:
I owe you one.
Somehow, I managed never to have heard of Cécile McLorin Salvant until Mack Avenue, a record company, sent a message announcing that it has signed her. The announcement included a link to a Sunday New York Times story by Mr. Ratliff. In a long article packed with praise from him and others, he wrote:
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.
…”uh-oh, and hm! and what?” I thought, quoting Mr. Ratfliff intepreting one of her facial expressions; “I’d better look into this.” To read all of his article, go here.
The next step was to see if I could find a sample of her singing. I found this, recorded four years ago somewhere in France, with bassist Alain Guiraud and guitaritst Renaud Maret. The videographer was shooting through a glass darkly, but the audiographer, if that’s a term, was up close and Ms. McLorin Salvant, singing a great song, was personal.
This YouTube page and two following it, have a few dozen clips of Ms. McLorin Salvant, including an eccentric, cliff-hanging version of “I Only Have Eyes For You.” It’s going to take a while to catch up with her.
Addendum: The Times piece online includes an embedded video of Ms. McLorin Salvant performing “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” with Aaron Diehl’s trio.