299

Esperanza Spalding: Esperanza

Ernest Barteldes By

Sign in to view read count
On this major label debut, bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding demonstrates plenty of eclecticism, taking on styles ranging from samba, hard-driving jazz and R&B, a risky combination in less confident hands. However, Spalding revels in the multiple directions without ever sounding pretentious.

The Berklee College alum opens the disc singing in fluent Portuguese, with a small hint of an accent, on "Ponta de Areia," a Milton Nascimento/Fernando Brandt composition originally featured on Wayne Shorter's Native Dancer and often covered by many Brazilian artists. On the funk-inflected original "Precious," she gives a humorous take on a one-sided love affair. More equitable romantic bliss is the theme of the ballad "Fall In," featuring pianist Leo Genovese as sole backing for Spalding's confident but laid-back vocals.

Spalding shows strong improvisational skills on "I Adore You" and "If That's True," the latter featuring an inspired solo from saxophonist Donald Harrison. Also worth noting is "Samba em Preludio," a rare Baden Powell/Vinicius de Morais composition (Morais is best known for his longtime partnership with Antonio Carlos Jobim). She starts the piece off singing the original Portuguese lyrics over her solo bass; around the one-minute mark she is joined by guitarist Nino Josele, who provides a hauntingly beautiful solo in addition to flamenco-flavored accompaniment.

Esperanza demonstrates that Spalding is an artist in development who keeps an open mind, avoiding the trappings of niche genres. She is a talented singer, bassist and tunesmith who is willing to take risks and explore different influences as a tool for her creativity.

Track Listing: Ponta de Areia; I Know You Know; Fall In; I Adore You; Cuerpo y Alma(Body & Soul); She Got to You; Precious; Mela; Love in Time; Espera; Samba em Preludio.

Personnel: Esperanza Spalding: bass, vocals; Gretchen Parlato: vocals; Jamey Haddad: percussion; Otis Brown: drums; Nino Josele: acoustic guitar; Donald Harrison: tenor saxophone; Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez: drums; Leo Genovese: piano; Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet.

Title: Esperanza | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Heads Up International


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Chasing the Unicorn" CD/LP/Track Review Chasing the Unicorn
by Paul Rauch
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "The Big Beat" CD/LP/Track Review The Big Beat
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Manovuotometro" CD/LP/Track Review Manovuotometro
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "The Long Road" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Road
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 30, 2016
Read "The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow" CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 3, 2017
Read "Umbra" CD/LP/Track Review Umbra
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 31, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.