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