sat 20/01/2018

Albums of the Year 2017: Cécile McLorin Salvant - Dreams and Daggers | reviews, news & interviews

Albums of the Year 2017: Cécile McLorin Salvant - Dreams and Daggers

Albums of the Year 2017: Cécile McLorin Salvant - Dreams and Daggers

Brilliant 2CD set lifts the lid on the US vocalist's fertile imagination

From Bessie Smith to Street Scene: Cécile McLorin Salvant

From newcomer Jazzmeia Horn to the Grammy-winning elder statesman Alan Broadbent, this round-up of favourite jazz releases represents just the tip of a huge iceberg of activity in 2017.

A strong year for UK label Edition Records included Denys Baptiste’s The Late Trane, a beautiful deep dive into late period Coltrane by the outstanding British tenor player, plus the whiplash-inducing gear changes of Phronesis’s The Behemoth, which saw the Scandinavian/British trio’s back catalogue cast in dazzling big band arrangements. 

For ECM, US pianist Craig Taborn followed his solo debut Avenging Angel (2011) and trio date Chants (2013) with the expanded quartet palette of Daylight Ghosts, a genuine partnership of equals rather than, as Taborn puts it, “piano adventures with supporting cast”.

The New Zealand-born, US-based pianist, composer and arranger Alan Broadbent delivered one of the most richly atmospheric orchestral jazz scores you’ll have the pleasure of hearing with his three-movement magnum opus, Developing Story. In what was a banner year for Broadbent, his collaboration with vocalist and lyricist Georgia Mancio resulted in the 12 sublime songs of Songbook.

The Dallas-born, NYC-based vocalist Jazzmeia Horn served up one of the singularly most powerful debuts of recent times with A Social Call, few albums combined exultation and sorrow quite so persuasively as Liane Carroll’s The Right To Love, while Jazz FM Vocalist of the Year nominee Polly Gibbons delivered everything from big band swagger to small group swing on her memorable second release on Resonance Records, Is It Me...? 

My Album of the Year saw vocalist and songwriter Cécile McLorin Salvant continue her inexorable rise with Dreams and Daggers, a brilliant 2CD set whose fascinating track list juxtaposed standards, vaudeville, blues and more, ranging from the glorious “You’ve Got To Give Me Some” – a song associated with one of McLorin Salvant’s touchstones, Bessie Smith – to a compelling interpretation of “Somehow I Never Could Believe” from the Kurt Weill/Langston Hughes opera Street Scene. We’ll find out later this month if the singer has bagged a second Grammy.

Two More Essential Albums from 2017

Alan Broadbent - Developing Story

Denys Baptiste - The Late Trane

Gig of the Year

Branford Marsalis Quartet with Kurt Elling at the Barbican

Track of the Year      

Cécile McLorin Salvant - “Somehow I Never Could Believe”

@MrPeterQuinn

Overleaf: Listen to Cécile Mclorin Salvant perform “Somehow I Never Could Believe”

Broadbent delivered one of the most richly atmospheric orchestral jazz scores with his three-movement magnum opus, Developing Story

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