Singer Cécile McLorin Salvant was born in Miami to French and Haitian parents, and started singing jazz while living in Paris. Back in the U.S., she won the Thelonious Monk vocal competition in 2010. The 23-year-old's first album, WomanChild, is now out — and few jazz debuts by singers or instrumentalists make this big a splash.
The violin, though centuries old, remains a popular yet remarkably unwieldy instrument. Just squeezing the contraption between your chin and shoulder, then raising your bow arm to the proper height, is enough to induce a pinched nerve. Yet every day countless numbers of people try to make the instrument sing.
Just southeast of the Virginia Commonwealth University campus in Richmond, Va., lies a compact neighborhood called Oregon Hill. Historically, it's been a (white) working-class part of town, affordable for students and various bohemian types. Recording engineer Lance Koehler was drawn to the place when he moved to Richmond from New Orleans; it's where he eventually found a two-story garage and converted it into his own recording studio and home. It didn't take him long to start doing business across the Richmond music map: Koehler is good at his job, and he's affordable.
Cynthia Sayer is widely regarded as one of the best banjoists in the world, able to perform in virtually any genre. Her accolades include the National Banjo Hall of Fame, a New York Philharmonic appearance and performances for two U.S. presidents. Sayer has played with Woody Allen's jazz band for more than a decade, and on this episode of Piano Jazz With Jon Weber, she whips up a fresh take on an old-time sound. Her latest album is titled Joyride.
The violin and viola that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played himself are in the United States for the first time ever. The instruments come out of storage only about once a year at the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria. The rest of the time, they're kept under serious lockup.
Janis Siegel has been a member of the seminal vocal group The Manhattan Transfer for 30-plus years. Along the way, the group has recorded more than 20 albums and collected eight Grammy Awards, and Siegel also has nine solo albums under her belt.
Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 11:50 am
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Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. His new book isHelguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.