• Cecile McLorin Salvant, Helen Sung from the Mary Lou Williams Festival at the Kennedy Center

    June 24, 2013. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    McLorin Salvant at the Kennedy Center, photo by Margot Schulman
    McLorin Salvant at the Kennedy Center, photo by Margot Schulman

    For her voice, dramatic ability and grace, 2013 was the year of Cécile McLorin Salvant at the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, May 16-18 in Washington, DC.

    Cécile sang music from WomanChild, just out from Mack Avenue, and added a couple of pieces by women including this one by Blanche Calloway -- "Growlin' Dan." The pianist is Aaron Diehl.

    But he handles my affairs like a real good man .. talkin' about Growlin' Dan .. and Cécile doesn't just sing it, she puts her own spin on it.

    WBGO listeners, note this opportunity:

    Cécile’s New York CD release party for WomanChild is Tuesday, June 25, and it's part of The WBGO Jazz Series at 54 Below. WBGO members can receive a discount here. You must see her!

    You may have heard underwriting spots from Mack Avenue for WomanChild on JazzSet. Thanks to the label for the support!

    Until Cécile's performance, it seemed as though this year's "Mary Lou" (as a friend calls the festival) was shaping up as the Year of the Bandleader. Helen Sung, Regina Carter and Nicole Mitchell's bands were especially strong.

    Helen Sung and Seamus Blake, photo by Margot Schulman
    Helen Sung and Seamus Blake, photo by Margot Schulman

    Helen Sung's arrangement puts the Tango by the Spanish composer Albeniz over a steady bass figure à la "Poinciana" (Ahmad Jamal) and "Sister Cheryl" (Tony Williams).

    This band smiles all around. The saxophonist is Seamus Blake, with Brandon Lee on trumpet, Ben Wolfe on bass, and Donald Edwards on drums. Here's "Shall We Tango."

    In an earlier version of this post, the audio was an excerpt of "Shall We Tango," but blog reader Dan Blake requested the complete performance, featuring Seamus Blake.

    I hope to be back with another post from the Mary Lou, soon!

    Note: These comment boards are available to the general public. Statements expressed in the comment boards do not necessarily reflect WBGO's views. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed within them. For more information, please read our Terms of Service.