It was one of those winter evenings when it was just way too cold to be outside. The Late Night show was on and a young, talented musician and singer was introduced on it. That was when I first learned of the phenomenal artist, Esperanza Spalding. Her voice reminds me a lot of my favorite artist Amel Larrieux, and so her sound immediately grasped me. What fascinated me the most was that she was singing with a really pretty tone, while sitting in behind this jazz stand-up bass. It was incredible. I think she sang “Winter Sun” that night and immediately, I ran to ITunes to download a copy.
Then the other night, the Grammy awards came on and there she was, the nominated and winner of the Best New Artist Award. She is the first in history to receive it as a jazz artist. It was a surprise to some who learned of this new artist for the first time that night and for those who had their bets on the best new artist being Justin Bieber. But for me, I already knew of her unique, quality sound and became a fan of her’s even before her Grammy win. She has a great sound and good music.
In March of 2009, I had requested tickets to be on one of my favorite daytime talk shows, “The View.” I absolutely love the show and the topics that the cast discuss and debates. Two years later, I received my tickets and was schedule to be in the guest audience today and guess who was there singing before my eyes. Esperanza Spalding!
Seeing Esperanza Spalding on a television screen is one thing, but to catch her at a live performance is great. She gets into that bass and makes you feel the thumps of it as she sings and scats away. I had never been more excited to be at a live taping of a talk show. I got even more excited when Sherri Shepherd announced that all of the members of the studio audience would be going home with a copy of Esperanza Spalding’s new CD “Chamber Music Society.”
I am happy to be listening to her new album “Chamber Music Society” and loving what I’m hearing. The album has a total of 10 tracks on it which were produced by Esperanza Spalding and Gil Goldstein. Her style is jazz fusion. She does a lot of singing, scatting, hitting high c notes, and playing her bass against the sounds of violin, cello, grand piano, guitar, and drums. Some songs have lyrics in them while some songs have no lyrics at all but solely scatting. Some songs are very mellow while others are up and pumping.
I’ve been a fan of jazz music ever since high school and this album definitely fits well into my large collection of music. Esperanza Spalding starts off her project with a creative recreation of a poem from the Romantic era of poetry by my favorite poet William Blake entitled “Little Fly” and made it into a mellow jazz tune with. As she sang the poem, she plucked that bass in harmony with the strokes of a violin. I loved “Winter Sun” the first time I heard her perform it and was inspired by the confidence of the words she sings about the sun that we are when the clouds go away.
“Knowledge of Good and Evil” is a dramatic song where Esperanza Spalding lets the Ella Fitzgerald in her loose. It’s a mostly instrumental tune that gets more intense as the moments slip by. This song almost reminded of William Blake’s “The Lamb” & “The Tyger” showing the vision of the world from the peaceful to the fire hot. She does a duet with Milton Nascimento entitled “Apple Blossom” about the changing of seasons and also sings a song in Portuguese entitled “Inutil Paisagem”. I liked how inviting it seemed to be a part of her culture as I listened to the different songs that spoke life throughout.
“Real Very Small” is a mid-tempo tune with the capability of making heads bop and toes tap. “Chacarera” had an interesting drum pattern of it that almost resembled the sound of Bojangles tap dancing on top of a set of drums. This is a great song to add to the list of music at a soiree with a great melody, tempo and sound. “Wild is the Wind” is a fusion of instruments including the vocals coming together to make something wonderful with a great solo by David Eggar on cello. Esperanza Spalding sings with delights of emotion letting listeners know, “hey, this is why I won best new artist!” She’s really good.
I really liked the album. It offered a great listen and I was impressed. I recommend “Chamber Music Society” to all jazz music lovers. Please experience it for yourself so you can hear the sophisticated depths of sounds also.