Grammy Award-winning singer, Cécile McLorin Salvant, joins harmonica virtuoso Grégoire Maret
4242 Campus Drive, Irvine CA
www.thebarclay.org | 949.854.4646
Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 4pm
Tickets: $46, $39, $32
Over the course of the past decade, Grégoire Maret has emerged as a unique and compelling new voice across a wide spectrum of the modern jazz world. That his chosen instrument — the harmonica — is a relative rarity in the genre is just one element in his singular sound. The extensive list of heavy-hitters who have enlisted him for their own projects is unparalleled: Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Cassandra Wilson and Marcus Miller, to name a few. More recently, he’s worked alongside some of the biggest names in music, including Sting, Prince and Elton John at Sting’s Rock for the Rainforest concert.
Maret is..."one of the most creative musicians around." - Herbie Hancock
The 2016 Grammy Award winner, Cécile McLorin Salvant has become one of the most celebrated young vocalists in jazz. Her visibility got a boost via work with Wynton Marsalis, but her American debut album, the Grammy-nominated, WomanChild, was the first real opportunity for American audiences to hear why Salvant had become a European sensation. The Jazz Journalists Association named her the 2014 Female Singer of the Year and Up and Coming Artist of the Year.
“If anyone can extend the lineage of the Big Three - Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald - it is this virtuoso.” - The New York Times
There is a balance that must be struck when one is an expert at something. There is the pressure to share your gifts at the whim of others, which requires the ability to bend to their demands. Then there is the need to express one’s own substance with the talent that has been honed. On his new recording, Wanted, and his second as a leader, the exceptional chromatic harmonica player, Grégoire Maret, once again finds himself moving away from his complementary duties as a sideman, and focusing on his role as a leader with his own musical vision. Naturally, Maret finds the art of collaboration an important part of developing as an artist, but he is especially aware of the pressures imposed by the needs of others, and the necessity of removing these outside influences in order to get to one’s core identity.
Over the span of his career, Maret has found himself alongside many musical masters, including Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Cassandra Wilson and Steve Coleman, adapting to and absorbing many different styles, as many in his open-minded generation do. The challenges were exciting and educational.
Maret was exposed to a variety of musical genres in his native Switzerland. His parents introduced him to soul, jazz and R&B. It was the music of such masters as Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Wayne Shorter and Louis Armstrong that immediately struck home and inspired Maret. It was their example that shined brightest as he approached the creation of his own recording, as he looked to make an album that he would have connected to when he was younger.
Going into the studio, Maret knew that he wanted to shape his music using all the tools at his disposal. He assembled a tight, core quartet: pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist James Genus and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. Maret wanted to treat the initial sessions as Miles Davis had done in his Kind of Blue sessions, namely to embrace the moment at hand with great musicians.
Maret was able to assemble a who’s who of the jazz world to appear as special guests on Wanted. First off, he approached the fantastic drummer Terri Lyne Carrington to play as part of his core group band, and also to co-produce the album with himself. He also enlisted Chris Potter on bass clarinet, guitarists Ricardo Vogt, Marvin Sewell and Kevin Breit, pianist Jon Cowherd, organist Shedrick Mitchell, keyboardist Bobby Sparks, arranger Gil Goldstein, percussionist Mino Cinelu and Kofo the Wonderman on talking drum.
Maret has had a deep connection to voice since the beginning of his musical life, as he was initially a singer who subsequently took up the chromatic harmonica, an instrument which he sees as an extension of, or the instrument closest to, the voice. So, it should not be a surprise that he brought in a number of fabulous vocalists to perform on Wanted, including Mark Kibble of Take 6,
Frank McComb, Dianne Reeves, Luciana Souza, Ivan Lins and Maret’s early mentor, Jimmy Scott, who passed away shortly after the recording.
The album begins with “2Beats,” a grooving love song featuring lyrical highlights from Maret, Terri Lyne Carrington and the rapper, Kokayi, whom he met through Steve Coleman. The title track has an incredible vibe created by utilizing the voice of Maret’s friend, Kibble, and Maret’s expressive harmonica. Miles Davis’ “Blue in Green” takes a page from Meshell Ndegeocello’s book of soul and is a perfect choice for Chris Potter’s dynamic bass clarinet and Gerald Clayton’s tasteful piano. The soulful rendition of Onaje Allan Gumbs’ “Diary of a Fool” features Frank McComb’s wonderful voice, while the amazing Dianne Reeves lends hers to “Heaven’s,” an emotive ballad written by Reeves and Maret.
Luciana Souza delivers a lovely wordless vocal to “Groove,” a great ensemble workout with some dazzling solos. Maret turns Wayne Shorter’s classic, “Footprints,” into a slinky, bobbing vehicle for improvisation. The wistful “Voo Do Pássaro” features a dramatic wordless vocal turn from Brazilian legend, Ivan Lins. Arranged by the great Gil Goldstein, “Talking Drums” is an epic piece in three movements inspired by Lins, which focuses on the essence of music: namely voice and drums, the latter provided by master percussionists, Mino Cinelu and Kofo The Wonderman. The recording concludes with “26th of May,” which was written for and performed by the legendary
vocalist, Jimmy Scott, who hired Maret for his first gigs in New York, taught him to play a ballad and gave his last heartfelt performance to Maret.
Grégoire Maret’s Wanted shows a complete artist coming full circle. Maret utilizes all that he has learned from his life as a sideman and leader in this entrancing and highly listenable recording.
CÉCILE McLORIN SALVANT
Cécile McLorin Salvant was born and raised in Miami, Florida of a French mother and a Haitian father. She started classical piano studies at five, and began singing in the Miami Choral Society at eight. Early on, she developed an interest in classical voice, began studying with private instructors, and later with Edward Walker, a vocal teacher at the University of Miami.
In 2007, Cécile moved to Aix-en-Provence, France to study law as well as classical and baroque voice at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory. It was in Aix-en-Provence, with reedist and teacher Jean-François Bonnel that she started learning about improvisation and instrumental and vocal repertoire, ranging from the 1910s on; and sang with her first band. In 2009, after a series of concerts in Paris, she recorded her first album, Cécile, with Jean-François Bonnel’s Paris Quintet. In 2010, she won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition in Washington D.C.
Cécile performs unique interpretations of unknown and scarcely recorded jazz and blues compositions. She focuses on a theatrical portrayal of the jazz standard and composes music and lyrics, singing in French, her native language as well as in Spanish. She enjoys popularity in Europe and in the United States, performing in clubs, concert halls and festivals accompanied by renowned musicians such as Jean-François Bonnel, Rodney Whitaker, Aaron Diehl, Dan Nimmer, Sadao Watanabe, Jacky Terrasson (she was the guest singer on his 2012 album, Gouache), Archie Shepp and Jonathan Batiste. She is the voice of Chanel’s “Chance” ad campaign for the third consecutive year. In August 2012, Cécile recorded WomanChild for Mack Avenue Records with Aaron Diehl, Rodney Whitaker, Herlin Riley and James Chirillo. It was nominated for the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
Cécile has performed at numerous festivals such as Jazz à Vienne, Ascona Jazz Festival, Whitley Bay Jaz Festival, Montauban Jazz Festival, Jazz Festival Foix; with Wynton Marsalis at Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in New York’s Lincoln Center and Chicago’s Symphony Center; and with her own band at The Kennedy Center, the Spoleto Jazz Festival, the Detroit Jazz Festival and at other venues.
In 2015, Salvant released her second album under Mack Avenue Records titled For One To Love. It won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.