Saturday, February 12, 2011

Esperanza Spalding: Part One

Super Nova/White Hot; Hot!!!  and Rising…might be one way to describe the present state of Esperanza Spalding’s music career. She is nominated for a Grammy as best new artist, performing at the Pre- Grammy Show, the subject of articles in publications from “The New Yorker “ to “Billboard” and countless “Youtube”  videos all as she performs  live around the world. One benchmark of a really good artist is the caliber of people that want to perform with you; Stanly Clarke, Stevie Wonder, the illustrious Quartet “Fourplay” and Prince have all enlisted her talents.

 She has come on to the contemporary music scene like an unbelievable through bred  leaping out of the blocks. Running sometimes along with the pack then out distancing all of the competition and again with the pack but always slightly ahead. The music world hasn’t seen her likes  for many years. She just happens to be primarily a jazz artist and she is in a unique position as such. The only other jazz performer to be nominated as best over all new artist by the Grammys  was Nora Jones. Esperanza Spalding has the potential to change all music that comes after her. She is that good.

She reminds me of Yo-Yo Ma in the way that she seems to be the conduit that the mysterious entity that is music is transmitted into being. She is much like a spiritualist bringing forth a thing from another plane into our plane of existence. She is to marvel.

Esperanza currently has three solo albums: “Junjo” released in 2005, the self titled “Esperanza” in 2008 and most recently “Chamber Music Society” in 2010. Chamber Music is the first to feature mostly original compositions and arrangements. It is her strongest to date. She has chosen to cover Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Inutil Paisagem”, The Johnny Mathis classic “Wild is the Wind” and even puts the luminous   British poet William Blake’s “Little Fly” to music.



This is inventive music that is challenging while still being beautiful to the ear and also renewing to the spirit. With this latest effort she does what great art should do, it breaks new ground while building on the past taking us willing as passengers. Her effort is a leap of faith into a wonderful new place that is hauntingly familiar.

"Chamber Music Society"

Spalding within the last few weeks has included performances in cities from Tokyo to Los Angeles and Cape Town. Her next weeks of performance will be in London, Paris, Barcelona and oh yes; Roanoke. That is correct Roanoke Va. at The Jefferson Center. I do plan to be there and I am excited!!! Part Two of this blog should follow the Jefferson Center Concert that is part of the “Chamber Music Society Tour.”

 If luck is a lady and fortune is good I may even talk with her and get some photos on what should be an enchanting evening.

Grammy Night is Feb. 13th



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

true, she's very talented/skilled, but, she's not gonna change music, etc. and that's not coming from some effort to "hate" on her.

the sound she makes is nothing new, it's not even different. it is safely locked in the middle of the jazz thing, and the "jazz police" will demand that she stay right there.

again, she's very talented. it's nice to see her get the attention and praise.