Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Esperanza Spalding Is an Amazing Talent

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Esperanza Spalding Is an Amazing Talent

Article excerpt

Let's cut to the chase. If you ever have the chance to see Esperanza Spalding in concert, consider it a bargain at twice the price.

Friday night the bassist/singer/composer who grew up in Portland, Ore., brought her 11-piece Radio Music Society -- named after her most recent CD and including a seven-piece horn section -- to the Byham Theater and simply killed it.

I had been warned ahead of time that she puts on a show, and she certainly does.

It's like no music I've ever heard before, though the construction recalled early-1970s fusion, the closest thing to it being Jaco Pastorius' Word of Mouth Big Band with a taste of Chicago and Bob Mintzer's big band and Ms. Spalding's delicate lead vocals sprinkled in.

"Endangered Species," with a long trumpet solo from Igmar Thomas, typified the proceedings. And that doesn't even take into account her technique on the acoustic bass, which was straight-up dangerous.

The show opened up with a simulated listener flipping from radio station to station, followed by the crack band performing a funk groove whose title I didn't get -- I didn't receive a set list and Ms. …

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