After making a splash in 2010 by winning the prestigious Thelonious Monk Competition, this gifted French-American singer unveils her spellbinding second album, WomanChild. It’s instantly striking how Salvant holds notes to mold the lyrics. Her vocals are comforting, authoritative, and remarkably graceful—even when singing a blues number about exacting revenge (“St. Louis Gal”). This segues into a sunny jazz standard about young love (“I Didn’t Know What Time It Was”), where brushed drums and gentle piano mingle with Salvant’s syrupy vocals; it calls to mind an enthralling mix of Billie Holiday and Erykah Badu. A rousing ragtime rhythm energizes Salvant’s cover of Bert Williams’ “Nobody,” while her subtle inflections burn a hole through ballads like “Prelude/There's a Lull in My Life.” This seesawing versatility zigzags its way through this timeless collection. It closes with a powerful one-two punch: jittery piano evokes the fluttering emotions of budding romance (“What a Little Moonlight Can Do”), which transitions into the gorgeous haunt of “Deep Dark Blue.”

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