Cécile McLorin Salvant surrounded by spirits on new album Ghost Song

Cécile McLorin Salvant has announced her upcoming album Ghost Song, the vocalist and composer’s debut with her new label Nonesuch.

The Grammy winner’s sixth album, arriving in March, features seven original songs along with interpretations of existing works by Kate Bush, Gregory Porter and others.

Every song on the album is based on the theme of ghosts. Meanwhile, the tunes also find Salvant pushing beyond conventional jazz instrumentation and embracing other sounds such as soulful Americana with guitar, banjo and mandolin.

“It’s unlike anything I’ve done before — it’s getting closer to reflecting my personality as an eclectic curator,” Salvant said in a statement. “I’m embracing my weirdness.”

The lead single is the title track, Ghost Song:

“What if the love has gone, the love has left you and you have the emotions around that, and you’re still going through them, still engaging with the ghost of that love,” Salvant explained. “Some songs are so painful to come out, but this one came out pretty quickly. I’ve had some loss the last couple of years: my grandmother, the drummer in my band (Lawrence Leathers).”

Salvant’s ensemble includes Sullivan Fortner on Fender Rhodes piano, Marvin Sewell on guitar and Keita Ogawa on drums and percussion. The album also features vocal performances by Alexa Tarantino and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

Salvant has remained in the spotlight and the headlines in the years since her last album, 2018’s The Window. 

Earlier this year, she partnered with the Haitian Global Health Alliance to raise money for public health in Haiti. In 2020, she was one of the recipients of the MacArthur Foundation fellowship, also known as the “genius grant.” In 2019, she won the Glenn Gould Protege Prize and earned her third Grammy for best jazz vocal album.

Salvant was also the featured vocalist on the 2020 debut record by Artemis, the supergroup led by Renee Rosnes.

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Here’s the track listing for Ghost Song:

  1. Wuthering Heights
  2. Optimistic Voices / No Love Dying
  3. Ghost Song
  4. Obligation
  5. Until
  6. I Lost My Mind
  7. Moon Song
  8. Trail Mix
  9. The World Is Mean
  10. Dead Poplar
  11. Thunderclouds
  12. Unquiet Grave

Ghost Note arrives March 4 via Nonesuch.