Home #Hwoodtimes The extraordinary versatility and dedication of Cécile McLorin Salvant at The Walt...

The extraordinary versatility and dedication of Cécile McLorin Salvant at The Walt Disney Concert Hall

Cécile McLorin Salvant
Cécile McLorin Salvant
At the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the unparalleled vocal prowess of Cécile McLorin Salvant not only shone but also left an indelible mark on the audience.

By: John Lavitt

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 6/4/2024 – The MacArthur Fellowship, often called the ‘Genius Grant’, is a prestigious annual accolade the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation bestowed. This $800,000 prize, paid over five years, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated ‘extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.’

In 2020, American vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, and the prize was richly deserved. At the Walt Disney Concert Hall (WDCH), she played with a talented quartet, including her frequent collaborator Sullivan Fortner on piano, Yasushi Nakamura on bass, and Aaron Kimmel on drums. Her first time playing in WDCH since a show with Sullivan Fortner in 2021, it was clear that the LA Phil should bestow an annual show on such an immense talent. Indeed, she is worthy of such an honor.

What’s truly impressive about Cécile McLorin Salvant is her effortless transition from one singing genre to another without compromising quality. Her ability to masterfully navigate diverse genres is a testament to her unmatched talent. She perfectly reflects a classic quote from Nobel-Prize-winning Irish author Samuel Beckett: “In the landscape of extinction, precision is next to godliness.”

Sullivan Fortner And Cécile McLorin Salvant
Sullivan Fortner And Cécile McLorin Salvant

Whether she is singing classical jazz, show tunes from Broadway, or a religious hymn from the Middle Ages, Cécile McLorin Salvant captivates the audience with the versatility and depth of her voice. Her ability to treat every piece of music with deep respect and evident love, combined with her talent, allows her to find the essence of each genre, making her a true genre excavation.

When moving beyond the classics from across time, Cécile McLorin Salvant offers a beautiful take on a lovely original — “Wild Is Love” — designed perfectly to show the range and sensitivity of her voice.  The song has many moments like the journey of a loving relationship, and it became downright hypnotic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Each verse transported the listener deeper into a carnival of expression.

The daughter of French and Haitian immigrants, Cécile McLorin Salvant, offers the adoring insight of an outsider whose talents have given her the keys to the kingdom. However, she will never surrender the understanding of an outsider’s perspective. Like many significant artists, such a perspective allows her to shine a light on many genres while providing sterling entertainment. She is nothing less than a national treasure.


Photos Courtesy of Cécile McLorin Salvant and the LA Phil