Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Esperanza Spalding

This NPR artist profile includes a lot of recorded interviews with Esperanza. Some are stories of her successes and awards, some are interviews on her musical style and works, and some are interviews on her opinions and activities with certain social justice issues.

On the official Esperanza Spalding website, this all-about-me section covers her history as a young musician and tells the story of how she got to where she is today.

The Wikipedia page on Esperanza gives a good list of her awards and accomplishments, and includes her discography.

More than anything, I find Esperanza’s incredible sense of time and space in her compositions and solos absolutely mesmerizing. Whether she’s on stage with a big band, accompanying a combo featuring an old-time jazz superstar, or by herself with bass and voice, her musicality is tasteful, sensitive, and passionate beyond belief. The way she fuses old jazz influences with modern pop influences to create her own unique style introduces a fresh, innovative, illustrative listening experience for the observer. Her music is too groovy to handle, and she’s my go-to artist for inspirational, peaceful listening. Aside from groove and musicality, her music sends messages--regarding equality, love for all people and for the world, and natural beauty. Another stand-out quality of this artist is that she was so talented and involved at such a young age. She enrolled in music school at Portland State University when she was 16, ended up at Berklee, and started teaching at Berklee at age 20. She’s won many, many outstanding artist awards and played with countless jazz legends, laying it down with crazy technique with both the upright bass and her voice.

Here's my favorite video from an NPR Tiny Desk Concert: