First Listen: Cecile McLorin Salvant and Artemis shine on Stevie classic

(August 7, 2020) The title ‘supergroup’ gets thrown around a lot in music, but it would be hard to find an ensemble more worthy of that title than Artemis. The women in this septet are among the most in-demand artists in jazz. They have performed with some of the best for a reason, and that reason is because all of them are virtuosos who have garnered multiple awards.

Artemis, named after the Greek goddess, is the brainchild of pianist Renee Rosnes, who assembled the band for a European jazz festival in 2017. A year later, Artemis caught the attention of Don Was, president of Blue Note Records, during a performance at the Newport Jazz Festival and he signed the band to the label. Their self-titled debut album has a scheduled release date of Sept. 11, but the band is giving us a preview with their cover of Stevie Wonder’s “If It’s Magic.”

(August 7, 2020) The title ‘supergroup’ gets thrown around a lot in music, but it would be hard to find an ensemble more worthy of that title than Artemis. The women in this septet are among the most in-demand artists in jazz. They have performed with some of the best for a reason, and that reason is because all of them are virtuosos who have garnered multiple awards.

Artemis, named after the Greek goddess, is the brainchild of pianist Renee Rosnes, who assembled the band for a European jazz festival in 2017. A year later, Artemis caught the attention of Don Was, president of Blue Note Records, during a performance at the Newport Jazz Festival and he signed the band to the label. Their self-titled debut album has a scheduled release date of Sept. 11, but the band is giving us a preview with their cover of Stevie Wonder’s “If It’s Magic.”

SoulTracks favorite Cecile McLorin Salvant handles the vocals and we know that she’s familiar with the Stevie Wonder songbook having covered “Visions” on her Grammy winning album The Window. She is joined by the aforementioned Rosnes on piano, Anat Cohen on clarinet, Melissa Aldana on tenor saxophone, Ingrid Jensen on trumpet, Noriko Ueda on bass and Allison Miller on drums.  Salvant is in sync with her colleagues on this track as this jazz version retains the sweet lullaby pacing found in Wonder’s original. Check it out here.

By Howard Dukes

Artemis feat. Cecile McLorin Salvant
"If It's Magic"

 
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