Cécile McLorin Salvant launches and 7 other new songs



The headline here isn’t that crème de la crème jazz singer Cecile McLorin Salvant has serious creative appetites that extend beyond the American repertoire of songbooks and curiosities she’s explored so well. It was becoming clear, slowly but surely, over the past few years. This is because when she focuses more on her own writing and moves away a bit from modern jazz, she also softens the archiness and the sharpness of her performance. There is a new expanded range both in music and in expression. “Thunderclouds” will help you synchronize the change: a rhythmic lullaby of melancholy and hurt hope, its shapely chord changes carried freely by the group and its skipping rhythm Jazz with Caribbean accents. “Sometimes you have to look into a well to see the sky,” sings Salvant, repeating the phrase as if to convince himself. The song is from an upcoming album, “Ghost Song”, due in March; this will be her first for Nonesuch Records and her first to feature mostly originals. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Texan alliance, soul singer Leon Bridges is supported by Khruangbin, a trio from Houston who has imbibed planetary rhythms. “B-Side” is from a collaborative EP scheduled for February. Khruangbin delivers mid-tempo two-chord afrobeat funk, with laconic rhythm guitar pieces to which organ chords respond, while Bridges hums in falsetto about what a distant lover misses. It looks like a slice of jam that lasted a lot longer. JON PARELES

Cascading xylophone and marimba sounds and the nasal string tones of a hurdy-gurdy circle through “Walker,” a meditation on overcoming the grief that bears songwriter Scott Walker’s name . It’s less dizzying and more patient than much of the Animal Collective catalog, and for its last minute all that’s left is plinks and stray words, like bursts of mourning. PARÉLES

High-level miniaturist Tierra Whack has released a series of three-song EPs that test the genre: “Pop ?,” “Rap?” and now “R&B? », Which relies on slow drum machines and electronic sounds. “Sorry” is expressed as a phone message, “one last conversation” with someone who is not responding. The synthesizer’s chords are frayed and shaky as his apologies fall – heartfelt but seemingly too late. PARÉLES

Misery and sensuality blend elegantly in this collaboration between FKA twigs and the Weeknd. For Twigs, an Impressionist singer, this marks her most pointed and theatrical voice, and the Weeknd, who has long embraced deviant sorrow on a large scale, recalls it very lightly to match the blissfully dismayed vibe. JON CARAMANICA

On “M&M”, Jamaican producer Rvssian offers a disturbing synth that sounds like a video game console on its last legs, metallic and discolored. Lil Baby associates it with a singing verse, and Future approaches it with an indignant wheeze. CARAMANIC

Tyondai Braxton’s new electronic track “Dia” emerges after a long silence. It has an insistent but implied pace, many layers of overt and implied syncope, and a determination to keep changing. PARÉLES

About 14 months ago, 24kGoldn topped the Billboard Hot 100 with their single “Mood”. Now he’s remaking “Just a Friend” by Biz Markie. It’s a cheeky success that feels like a dark concession. CARAMANIC

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