Esperanza Spalding: Chamber Music Society

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COMPOSERS: Esperanza Spaldin
LABELS: Heads Up
PERFORMER: Esperanza Spalding (bass, vocals), Leo Genovese (piano) and other musicians
CATALOGUE NO: HUI318100-2

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Esperanza: even the name gives hope for a new thing in jazz. And from the opening number, a delicate song-setting for the William Blake poem ‘Little Fly’, young Ms Spalding hits the sweet spot.

The 25-year-old American took the jazz scene by storm two years ago with her diaphanous scat singing style contrasted by a sonorous tone on the double bass.

This new experiment in jazz/classical fusion will only broaden her appeal. The strings in these dreamy vignettes do suggest chamber music but there are other dimensions, like the wandering wordless jazz singing.

There’s also a worldly folk element and the inclusion of gentle Brazilian balladeer Milton Nascimento guesting on ‘Apple Blossom’ is perfect. 

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Spalding says she came from ‘the wrong side of the tracks’ in Portland, Oregon. Well, she’s come a long way in a short time and, on the strength of this, is headed far. Garry Booth