Esperanza Spalding on Letterman Tonight!
The song "Precious" is Esperanza Spalding's first single from ESPERANZA her debut on Heads Up International.
Esperanza and her band will perform this Saturday at The Roots Picnic in Philadelphia. Press Quotes and Tour Dates are below.
NPR's All Things Considered
"There are many gifted singers in jazz today, and no shortage of accomplished acoustic bass players. But few jazz artists can be both. Esperanza Spalding's new album, Esperanza, blends her soaring vocals and her deep bass lines. At 23, Spalding has already built an impressive resume: She earned a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and graduated a year early to become the youngest faculty member in the school's history, and she's also played with jazz legends such as Patti Austin, Pat Metheny, and Herbie Hancock." To listen to the entire story, click here:
New York Times
"Esperanza has got a lot: accomplished jazz improvisation, funk, scat singing, Brazilian vernacular rhythm and vocals in English, Portuguese and Spanish. At its center is a female bassist, singer and bandleader, one whose talent is beyond question."
Billboard "Faces to Watch"
"Whether exploding into vocalese or making her bass solo sound like a horn, she's a spark plug who dances as she grooves through a funked-up and rocked-out repertoire."
"Esperanza, her debut for Heads Up, has the charismatic musician handily demonstrating her talents as a virtuoso instrumentalist, gifted multi-lingual vocalist, and potent songwriter. She plays and sings on a jazz-rooted program marked by catchy if tricky melodies, pliable grooves informed by Latin, Brazilian, African, and bebop rhythms, and multiple bursts of ripping fingerboard work and scat singing."
"There's a Latin-jazz revolution going on courtesy of young Esperanza Spalding...Spalding's voice slips through each of her intricately crafted arrangements as if imbued with the spirit of Flora Purim. Only Spalding's melodies are more punctual and sprightlier than the airy Airto-isms of Purim. But they never lack in dynamism."
"Esperanza is the hottest thing going in the world of bass playing. So why is her CD in Keyboard? Easy. The heavily Brazilian-influenced self-penned jazz instrumentals and vocals are fantastic. Her lyrics are heartfelt yet not clichéd. Her voice is really something special. She's a freekin' awesome acoustic bassist. She's got soul. And she's got a keyboard player in the band that you need to know about: Leo Genovese...this CD provides much to discover and delight."
Christian Science Monitor
"As her voice sambas over vibrant South American rhythms and her Elastigirl fingers climb up and down the double-bass's skyscraper neck, you'd swear the girl was from Ipanema, not Portland, Ore. Even people who think they don't like jazz may respond to the melodies on Esperanza."
"It's an album that borrows inspiration from others' past achievements, but is perfectly now-and completely Spalding's."
Bass Musician magazine
"A seriously gifted vocalist/instrumentalist is a rare breed. That ability, or should I say gift to have command of two voices interchangeably, that capacity to handle counterpoint, 'with yourself', can leave most people, much less musicians, quite speechless at times. That 'could' almost be enough said in my introduction of Esperanza. But there's much more to this young (24, I believe) musician than meets the eye. Her obvious love affair with music, her clarity insofar as her awareness of her evolution, and her sound, which she has thought out well, make her at this early stage in her career a force to be reckoned with, and a voice (voices?) that deserves attention, which will surely ensue with the release of her new CD Esperanza. Contrary to how it sometimes may feel within our culture these days, there 'are' some young players out there that are dead serious about creating a 'life' within the arts, and Esperanza is easily a shinning example of that."
"Spalding is obviously star material of the first order, the kind of performer whose passionate, uninhibited absorption in what she's doing ineluctably lures you into her world."
"She's being hailed because of her voice and sound. She's being hailed because of her style and looks. Andy she's being hailed because she has all this talent at the age of 23...The CD gave me much more than I expected. This musical prodigy should get many more people talking."
All About Jazz-NY
"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."
Latin Beat Magazine
"Set for worldwide release on May 20, Esperanza's bandleading debut serves to display her acoustic bass chops and angelic vocals, spanning three languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese). This CD also showcases her composing and arranging skills, as well as her fresh and progressive approach to making music. Indeed, Esperanza is a bright, shining star to watch for."
Evening Standard (London)
"Young, gifted and black (plus charming, unaffected, intelligent and versatile), Esperanza Spalding is the brightest new star to swim into my ken for years. Scatting to her funky double-bass, she sings in Spanish and English and writes originals which tap into hip soul-jazz and urban-Latin trends. Her US group, with pianist Leo Genovese and handdrummer Horacio 'El Negro' Hernandez prominent, is dynamite and standards ('Body and Soul', 'Samba Em Preludio') are no problem." *****
"...her brand new sophomore release is a knockout! 23 and already an instructor at the Berklee School of Music, bilingual Spalding is as powerful a writer as she is a player, intuitively melding Latin, Jazz and Funk with youthful gusto...She describes this project as a groove-oriented 'crossover date that has the integrity of jazz.' I call it a must hear CD and the lady a guaranteed breakthrough artist for 2008."
"For as bold a statement as Esperanza Spalding makes in her Heads Up debut album, the obvious truth by the end of twelve tracks is that what we're hearing is just a taste of what's to come from this bright young star."
"The package of talent offered by Berklee College of Music graduate Esperanza Spalding portends great things for this young artist. A classically trained musician who became a sizzling bass player and singer/composer, Spalding covers jazz and Brazilian music on her debut album with verve and energy. Most impressively, Spalding does the improvisational singing of the high notes while her fingers pound out the rhythmic line on bass."
"[Spalding's] debut on the Heads Up/Concord label is a highly accessible jazz album, heavy on groove and shades of Afro-Latin swing. The warm, organic feel of the record reminds me of the sounds that emanated from the Prestige and Blue Note labels in the mid-'70s - sans the wah-wah guitar and Fender Rhodes. Even the throwback cover shot of the smiling, gloriously Afro'd artist looks as if it were taken in 1975...Spalding's sunny, melodic voice (shades of Flora Purim) is as prominent throughout the breezy 12-cut CD as her deft bass playing...she's somebody to watch."
The multilingual Spalding is a child prodigy who grew up poor in Portland, Ore., and eventually became the youngest teacher at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. This bassist, who sings while she plays, comes at the listener from a variety of angles - straight-ahead jazz, light jazz vocals, Brazilian ballads and scat. The CD shows lots of passion and vision and includes world-class percussionist Jamey Haddad."
Hill Rag (Wash, DC)
"Vocalist and bassist Esperanza Spalding's debut album uses jazz standards, pop styles, soul moods, and Afro-Latin rhythms and harmonies to create unmistakably distinctive stylish sound of her own. With a fresh, youthful voice, the music radiates a vibrant Latin/jazz format with an occasional burst of sensual magnetism. It's a lovely, charming, carefree music that captures the imagination of something new. But first things first. It's a romantic album for falling in love with that special person. Oh, what the heck, let's be real. It's that Latin sound (Spanish or Portuguese, does it matter) that always gets me. Nonetheless, this is very young music that hints at a great future on songs like 'I Adore You,' 'Cuerpo Y Alma (Body & Soul),' and 'Samba Em Preludio.'"
"Esperanza is one of the most impressive debuts to come along in many a year. Her future is as bright as her jazz."
Philadelphia Daily News
"Esperanza Spalding has 'the X factor,' proclaims admirer Pat Metheny. She's a fresh, dynamic jazz bass player, composer and singer, with a throaty, imperfect voice that could grow on you. Her debut album is called (what else?) Esperanza (Heads Up, B), and it won me over with her first selection, a Milton Nascimento tune sung in Portuguese."
"The young bassist has performed with players as important as Joe Lovano and in a variety of styles, and that range shows in this album dominated by Latin-tinged originals. One of them, 'I Adore You,' features a wordless vocal in a bebop style that moves along like a creation of Dizzy Gillespie and Bobby McFerrin. Her use of words also is good, though, as on the sarcastic 'She Got to You.' She also does a fine cover of 'Body and Soul' in an Afro-Cuban sense. For those of us who have seen her only as a bassist, her voice is a surprise - and a good one at that. The album tends to be built around it, but her strong bass playing always is there, too. The recording has a pop-like feeling upon first listening, but the jazz rhythms flex their strength on repeated visits." ***
"In sum, Esperanza sounds like the work of a much older, more experienced player, singer, and songwriter. Spalding not only has these gifts in natural abundance but is disciplined in her execution as well. On this recording she seeks to widen her musical adventure at every turn, but she does it with such with taste, refinement, and a playful sense of humor that virtually anyone who encounters this offering will find not only much to delight in, but plenty to be amazed by as well."
Daily News (McKeesport, PA)
"Bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding has released a complex little album that should give jazz fans great hope for the future of the art form."
"The jazz wunderkind bassist-vocalist Esperanza Spalding sports an Afro as big as her musical talent. Enrolled at Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music when she was just 16 years old, Spalding scored touring and recording gigs with the likes of Pat Metheny, Joe Lovano and Patti Austin before she left school. On Esperanza (2008, Heads Up International), she focuses on her multilingual vocal stylings, tackling Milton Nascimento's 'Ponta de Areia' in Portuguese, the jazz war horse 'Body and Soul' in Spanish (and a bold 5/4 time signature) and her own intimate ballad 'Fall In' in English. Showcased in a variety of small
combo settings, the multiculti 23-year-old is obviously headed for big things."
"Music, like boxing, is more about interesting combinations than sheer brute force. Esperanza Spalding has a number of surprising combinations up her sleeves. First, her doubling on acoustic bass and vocals is an unusual mixture in the jazz world. Her songs also reflect an interesting combination of world music and jazz traditions. And even within the jazz sphere, she draws on both mainstream and crossover styles...She has a beguiling singing style, more pop than jazz, but with enough substance to satisfy the more reasonable members of the jazz 'authenticity' police. A gracious release by a promising talent."
"Blessed with talent, youth, training and outrageously good looks, Spalding is a young woman ready to make some noise, and is here to stay in the jazz world."
Urban Music Scene
"Ms. Spalding delivers a riveting display of special skill & talent unlike I have ever heard in this generation. Exceeding every expectation I had of this project from the reception of this CD. I'm glad to see Heads Up International providing her the chance for the world to finally receive a special, musically endowed, jazz centerpiece. Not only am I soliciting the album for purchase into your collection, I will also go out on the limb, to promote a chance of seeing Ms. Spalding live when she comes to your neighborhood, sometime soon I hope..."
Sat 06/07/08 Philadelphia, PA Festival Pier At Penn's Landing
Tue 06/10/08 Los Angeles, CA Catalina Bar & Grill
Thu 06/12/08 Oakland, CA Yoshi's Oakland
Thu 06/26/08 Alexandria, VA Birchmere
Sat 07/12/08 Copenhagen, DEN Haveselskabet
Wed 07/16/08 Pori, FIN Otava Factory
Thu 07/17/08 Pori, FIN Porin Teatteri
Fri 07/18/08 Pori, FIN Kirjurinluoto Arena
Sat 07/19/08 Stockholm, SWE Skeppsholmen
Tue 08/05/08 Buffalo, NY University At Buffalo
Wed 08/06/08 Cleveland Heights, OH Nighttown
Sat 08/30/08 Detroit, MI Detroit International Jazz Festival
Wed 09/03/08 Osaka, JPN Billboard Live Osaka
Thu 09/04/08 Fukuoka, JPN Billboard Live Fukuoka
Fri 09/05/08 Tokyo, JPN Billboard Live Tokyo
Sat 09/06/08 Tokyo, JPN Billboard Live Tokyo
Mon 09/15/08 Amsterdam, NET Bimhuis
Fri 09/19/08 Bergen, NOR Sardinen USF
Sat 09/20/08 Trondheim, NOR Dokkhuset
Wed 09/24/08 Copenhagen, DEN Jazz House
Thu 09/25/08 Skerninge, DEN Giant Steps
Fri 09/26/08 Goteborg, SWE Nefertiti
Sat 09/27/08 Stockholm, SWE Fasching Jazz Club
Sun 09/28/08 Helsingborg, SWE Dunkers Kulturhus
Sat 10/04/08 Falmouth, MA TBA
Wed 10/22/08 Rio de Janeiro, BRZ Marina del Gloria
Fri 10/24/08 Sao Paulo, BRZ Auditorio Do Ibirapuera