Friday, December 30, 2016


Story and photos by Dwight Casimere
 Cecile McLorin Salvant in full songbird flight

Cecile McLorin Salvant with the Aaron Diehl Trio and guest saxophonist Melissa Aldano

NEW YORK--If anyone thought the  legacy and Sarah, Ella and other jazz legends was in jeopardy, a simple venture to Dizzy's Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center in the Time Warner Center was proof positive of the complete opposite. Grammy winning vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant along with the Aaron Diehl Trio of bassist Paul Silvikie, drummer Lawrence Leathers and guest artists Anat Cohen, on clarinet opening night and saxophonist Melissa Aldano on the subsequent evening, presented an eloquent excursion through modern jazz, spanning the decades from the early jazz of Sidney Bechet's New Orleans, the bawdy blues of Big Bill Broonzy, through the Great American Songbook, and latter day trailblazers and idiosyncratic innovators such as 93 year old bebop vocalist and composer Bob Dorough.

In sold out sets through New Year's Eve, McClorin mined the vocal treasure trove of jazz standards, such as Body and Soul, Isn't It Romantic, Sunday in New York, What A Little Moonlight Can Do,  Let's Face the Music and Dance, among others. and showed that there were still even greater jewels to be discovered.  In her far-reaching sets,  she and her able music-director and arranger, pianist Aaron Diehl, navigated from the tender and atmospheric (Lionel Hampton's Midnight Sun) to the bawdy  and profane (Ida Cox's Wild Women Don't Have The Blues, and the racially charged If You're Black Get Back from Big Bill Broonzy), with ease.

Opening night's guest artist,  New York-based clarinetist Anat Cohen, brought a taste of New Orleans grounding to Jelly Roll Morton's Sweet Substitutes and There'll Be Some Changes Made, that really set the proceedings onto some solid swinging jazz territory. The following night's guest, saxophonist Melissa Aldano, recalled the post-Bop musings of Sonny Stitt, Gene Jug Ammons and Dexter Gordon to an astonishing degree, adding polish to an already lustrous evening of great music. 

Cecile McLorin Salvant and company not only honored the great jazz music of the past, but laid the foundation for even more illuminating creative prospects for the genre in the New Year.

Sets continue through New Year's Eve. For information and showtimes, visit

Aaron Diehl and Cecile McLorin Salvant

 An engaging due with guest artist Anat Cohen
Clarinetist Anat Cohen (below) Cecile McLorin Salvant and the Aaron Diehl Trio with guest artist
Melissa Aldano


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