An ogress is a female ogre, a monstrous cannibal. The eponymous »hero« of the project of the same name was born in the imagination of the extraordinary singer Cécile McLorin Salvant when she found herself standing before the mythically charged painting of a voodoo goddess by the Haitian artist Gerard Fortune. Salvant, who has mixed Haitian, French and American roots, is a trained Baroque singer and at the same time one of the strongest improvisers among female vocalists in recent jazz history. The painting prompted her to think up a story about a huge monster that lives in the woods and eats anyone who makes the mistake of coming within its grasp.
Salvant made a complete set of drawings of this imagined world which she plans to use as the basis for a film, and she also composed music to go with her texts, which a friend arranged for her and a 13-piece chamber ensemble. »Ogresse« has rarely been heard live up to now, and it’s likely to be one of the highlights of this season’s jazz programme at the Elbphilharmonie.
Cécile McLorin Salvant is a charismatic singer. Blessed with perfect intonation and a sensational range of vocal timbres, she already sent the Elbphilharmonie audience into raptures at concerts with smaller line-ups in 2017 and again in 2021. There can be no doubt that she’ll do that again this time round. Her arranger Darcy James Argue produces unconventional music almost non-stop as the conductor, composer and »ringleader« of his own, formidable big band »Secret Society«. And for »Ogresse«, too, he has put together a hand-picked team of musicians, and has created his own fascinating musical world to accompany McLorin Salvant’s magical songs.
Cécile McLorin Salvant vocals, composition
Darcy James Argue direction, arrangements
Alexa Tarantino saxophone, flute, clarinet
Tom Christensen saxophone, bass clarinet, oboe, cor anglais
Kirk Knuffke trumpet
Joshua Roseman trombone, tuba
Warren Wolf vibraphone, marimba
Brandon Seabrook guitar, banjo
Helen Sung piano, organ, melodica
David Wong double bass
Samuel Torres percussion
Olivia de Prato violin
Maya Bennardo violin
Victor Lowrie Tafoya viola
Tyler J. Borden violoncello
Jazz at the Elbphilharmonie