Saturday, October 08, 2011

Esperanza Spalding, Esperanza, Heads Up

I saw her Chamber Music Society for the second time this week and it was wonderful just like the first time. The most accessible Third Stream-style mix of jazz and classical forms in some time and I may be doing it something of an injustice characterizing it that way. In many respects, it is pathbreaking music. You gotta be doing something unusual to derail the Bieber juggernaut for a Grammy.

As much as I appreciate Chamber Music Society, the performances and the CD, this is my favorite Esparanza set so far (I mean, we only have three CDs and she should have a long way to go being, basically, a kid). From 2008, the focus is on her considerable ability as a jazz musician, singing, and even more importantly, as a magnificent bassist. If tunes like Espera don't get your heart going pitter-patter, you may be dead. Art Blakey would have been down with hard-bopper If That's True, which works Donald Harrison in on alto sax. Mingus would have dug it all.

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