Though it was actually her second full-length release, on the strength of one album, 2013’s WomanChild, Cécile McLorin Salvant vaulted from Miami-born Monk competition victor to the world’s most celebrated female jazz vocalist. It’s mighty tough to follow so massive a critical and popular hit. Given, however, the depth and breadth of Salvant’s musical gifts, it’s hardly surprising that For One to Love is even more impressive.
Sly and sensuous, partial to featherlight flights yet solid as oak, Salvant is preternaturally brilliant at synthesizing a century’s worth of influences—shades of Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Blossom Dearie are clearly evident—while remaining her mesmeric self. And in pianist Aaron Diehl, also featured on WomanChild, she has found an ideally simpatico partner. Joining them are bassist Paul Sikivie and drummer Lawrence Leathers.