This one is for Austin who just made my day by putting me onto jazz vocalist, bassist and composer Esperanza Spalding. Born in Portland, Oregon (1984), Esperanza was inspired to pursue a career in music as a young girl watching classical cellist Yo Yo Ma perform on Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. I first met Yo Yo when I was a little squirt at Harvard Memorial Church (shout out to the Ma fam) and he gave my sisters and I an informal talking to about the importance of education and following our dreams. He (and his warm smile) has the ability to convert any child into an aspiring musician, it’s quite a talent. I tried my hand at classical guitar but after many years of lessons, I realized it wasn’t my calling. Fortunately for us, it was Esperanza’s calling. Peep this:
“If “esperanza” is the Spanish word for hope, then bassist, vocalist and composer Esperanza Spalding could not have been given a more fitting name at birth. Blessed with uncanny instrumental chops, a multi-lingual voice that is part angel and part siren, and a natural beauty that borders on the hypnotic, the 23-year-old prodigy-turned-pro might well be the hope for the future of jazz and instrumental music. “She is an irresistible performer,” says The Seattle Times. “She sings and plays bass at the same time and does a sort of interpretive dance as she plays…Her analysis of what’s going on in jazz today is perceptive.” Irresistible. Interpretive. Perceptive.” — Biography, MySpace
I feel like everyday I uncover another new (at least to me) artist that is doing something different and doing it well. Esperanza is one of these fearlessly experimental types who has mastered her craft at the tender age of 23. After listening to a number of interviews, I have concluded that she has that something special. She carries herself with a certain quiet confidence that doesn’t read arrogantly at all and you know what? Aside from her presentation she just makes some GOOD @$$ music!!! Check it:
For all you Bay heads, she’s performing at Yoshi’s on 10/14, who’s down?