A big departure here stylistically from one of the leading jazz singers of today Cécile McLorin Salvant is long since an icon. The singer has nothing to prove. There's everything to gain and nothing artistically to lose in anything she does given the essentially valid savoir faire and élan of what she does. While at times a frustrating listen Mélusine (the eponymous figure in legend cursed to be a half-snake) has originals and material sung not only in French but also the ancient southern French Occitan tongue as well as English and Haitian Kreyol ('Dame Iseut'). Sullivan Fortner on synths makes a memorable contribution on 'D'un feu secret' and overall highlights include the jolly 'il m'a vue nue' ('he saw me naked'). The whole thing is beautifully sung - few singers have such formidable diction, emotional resource and strength as the American-French-Haitian 33-year-old. Curatorially hard to grasp on to at times material spans Louis Aragon/Léo Ferré, Charles Trenet, Pierre Chagnon, Jean Delabre, François Pruvost, 12th century female troubadour music, anonymous 14th century material, a 1970s musical - and more! For us Womanchild (2013) and For One To Love (2015) remain McLorin Salvant's best albums.
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