Academic journal article Notes

Esperanza Spalding

Academic journal article Notes

Esperanza Spalding

Article excerpt

Esperanza Spalding. Esperanza. Heads Up HUCD 3140, 2008.

Singer, bassist, composer and lyricist Esperanza Spalding burst onto the jazz scene in 2008 with one of the most, enjoyable and exciting debut albums this reviewer has heard in a decade. One would like to pass over the question of her age, but it is impossible not to take note of the fact that she is only 23 years old, that she matriculated at the Berklee College of Music at age 16, and that shortly thereafter she became the youngest professor that school ever hired. Trilingual and blessed with a voice of exquisite purity and sweetness of tone, she is a songwriter equally comfortable in several jazz genres and an inventive bassist whose ability-' to improvise rhythmically and harmonically complex lines while singing equally interesting melodic variations simultaneously is nothing short of jaw-dropping. It is not her versatility and technical skill that make the greatest impact on her eponymous debut, however--it is the charms of her delightfully complex melodies, the relentless swing of her straight-ahead jazz compositions and the variegated bounce of her Latin tunes that catch and hold your attention, gradually allowing you to recognize through the haze of musical bliss that you are hearing arrangements of startling complexity. …

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