This week’s Fridays at Five session from SFJAZZ features jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant and virtuoso pianist Sullivan Fortner performing music from their award-winning album The Window – a performance recorded live at the JAZZ Center in San Francisco in September 2018.
This was the release which won the GRAMMY for Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 2019 ceremony, and from which they perform a selection which includes early 20th century French cabaret hits, songs by Stevie Wonder and Stephen Sondheim, as well as some original compositions. It was McLorin Salvant’s third GRAMMY win, and Fortner was internationally acclaimed as both key player and producer for his collaborative work on the album.
Many Bay Area jazz lovers were bitterly disappointed when McLorin Salvant’s performance of her song cycle Ogresse in early March was the first SFJAZZ concert to be canceled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, so SFJAZZ is delighted to devote this week’s Fridays at Five session to the vocalist whom the New York Times calls “The finest jazz singer to emerge in the last decade”, and the pianist who was awarded the Cole Porter Fellowship by the American Pianists Association and a Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship in 2015, and the 2016 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists.
Mostly influenced by Sarah Vaughan, Cécile McLorin Salvant has also been inspired by vocalists like Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith and Betty Carter, describing her style as jazz and blues with elements of folk and musical theatre. At the age of 21 she won first prize in the 2010 Thelonius Monk International Jazz Competition, and has toured with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra – directed by Wynton Marsalis.
Marsalis is also one of the artists with whom pianist, composer and band leader Sullivan Fortner has had associations, others being Paul Simon, Diane Reeves, Etienne Charles and John Schofield. Longtime collaborators include Ambrose Akinmusire, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Stefon Harris, Kassa Overall, Tivon Pennicott, Peter Bernstein, Nicholas Payton, Billy Hart, Gary Bartz, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Fred Hersch and Roy Hargrove. In this past year, Fortner – regarded as one of the top jazz pianists of his generation – won first place in the DownBeat Critics Poll categories Rising Star Piano and Rising Star Jazz Artist.
The Fridays at Five sessions are available to SFJAZZ members and digital members (the latter category costing just $5 per month), and Cécile McLorin Salvant will join this week’s chat.
The Tip Jar for this transmission will be split 50/50 between SFJAZZ and the two performers.
The broadcast takes place on Friday, July 24, at 5.00 pm Pacific, 7.00 pm New Orleans, and 8.00 pm NYC and Miami. Viewers in London can watch at 1.00 am on July 25, and in Paris at 2.00 am. Visit the SFJAZZ website for details.