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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

CD review: Esperanza Spalding

Artist: Esperanza Spalding

Album: Chamber Music Society

Label: Heads Up International

Rating: 4

A collective gasp of surprise could be heard at the 53rd Grammy Awards on Sunday night when the winner of the “Best New Artist” award was announced to be not emerging stars Florence + the Machine, Mumford & Sons, or Drake, or even every pre-teen girl’s fantasy, Justin Bieber, but a woman by the name of Esperanza Spalding. As the young woman with the big black hair walked up to receive her award, both the audience and Americans watching at home seemed to be thinking one thing – who?

Spalding has made waves in the jazz scene with her album Chamber Music Society. The album is a breath of fresh air, reminiscent of Norah Jones’ debut Come Away With Me. Spalding has a gorgeous and light falsetto, which she uses to her advantage in equally breezy tracks throughout her album. The instrumentation of the album, aided by Spalding, who plays bass, is equally lovely to listen to and perfect for the ultimate Sunday chill-out.

In a music genre that often floats by unrecognized by the popular music scene, Spalding brings a modern flair with Latin-tinged songs, while still staying connected to her jazzy roots with her amazing scat singing. Although people may still be debating who should have taken home the prestigious gold record play, there is no doubt Spalding is more than worthy.

Give these tracks a listen: “Knowledge of Good and Evil,” “Wild is the Wind,” “Winter Sun”

For fans of: Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald

– Anneta Konstantinides


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