For those that didn't know, the Detroit Jazz Fest has our downtown area on lock this weekend, plus the Detroit Grand Prix and Senator Obama being in town. With all of that going on things have been pretty live around here this holiday artists on several stages all performing for free is a definite win-win situation. The artists line-up included many of my favorites like Lalah Hathaway, Rahsaan Patterson, Benny Golson and Dianne Reeves. One of the true highlights of the 2008 Jazz Fest for me was definitely new comer Esperanza Spalding! This beautiful (physically and talent wise) bass player is a true joy to watch. She's done her thing everytime that I have seen her perform. I was initially impressed by her when I first saw her perform live a few months ago on a local morning show. I saw her just by chance actually. Watching her small frame rip the stage with that huge bass was amazing by itself, but it was the great music that she shared that had me sold. Personally, I am not into to many jazz bass players, but Ms. Spalding has definitely made her way onto my small and distinctive list. Did I mention that she's a music teacher at Boston's Berklee College of Music?
After watching Esperanza perform, I immediately went online to find out about her album. She actually has two albums under her belt, but it was the her latest project "Esperanza" that I was interested in. After putting ears on that jazzy joint, I must say that I was pretty impressed with it overall. She incorporates different types of songs on this project, which showcases different aspects of her skill. Outside of her bass playing abilities, Ms. Spalding is a wonderful singer as well. Actually, her singing was the highlight of this album for me. She reminds me of Corinne Bailey Rae with a hint of Minnie Ripperton at times, but she still manages to develop her own identity. This album is definitely getting many spins around the house. This is great background music! I still haven't heard her first album that dropped back in 2006 entitled "Junjo" just yet, but it's definitely on my list of things to do. From the snippets that I've heard on Amazon, that project seems a little more like traditional jazz..?
If this post has sparked your interest in Esperanza's music, click the links below to check out some of the tracks from her new album:
Put eyes on this clips: