Having been called “the finest jazz singer to emerge in the last decade,” 26-year-old Cécile McLorin Salvant possesses a depth of expression and innate ability that is utterly enthralling. Winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk Competition at age 20, she performs unique interpretations of unknown and scarcely recorded jazz and blues compositions, and focuses on a theatrical portrayal of the jazz standard. The irresistible jazz-historical comparison is to Sarah Vaughan, who wielded a similar authority over her instrument, as witnessed by audiences at McLowin Salvant’s sold-out SMF 2014 appearances. She continues to work throughout Europe and the United States with her crisply ironed trio led by pianist Aaron Diehl, and this special SMF double bill with the Monty Alexander Trio is guaranteed to be memorable.
In a career spanning five decades, pianist Monty Alexander has built a reputation exploring and bridging the worlds of American jazz, popular song, and the music of his native Jamaica, finding in each a sincere spirit of musical expression. In the process, he has performed and recorded with artists including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry and Quincy Jones, among others. Having recorded over 70 albums as a leader, Alexander continues to be a tour de force of jazz piano and a favorite of many musicians across the jazz spectrum. This is Monty Alexander’s SMF debut, and he’s joined by Hassan Shakur on bass and Jason Brown on drums.