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Esperanza Spalding

Hailed as a prodigy on the acoustic double bass within months of first touching the instrument as a 15-year-old, Esperanza Spalding has emerged as a fine jazz bassist, but has also distinguished herself playing blues, funk, hip-hop, pop fusion, and Brazilian and Afro-Cuban styles as well. Born in Portland, Oregon in 1984, Spalding was not well served by the public school system and soon dropped out of classes to be home-schooled. Returning to the public school system at 15, she encountered her first acoustic bass (she had already been playing violin for several years) and immediately took to the instrument. Dropping out of school again, Spalding enrolled in classes at Portland State University as a 16-year-old, and earned her B.A. in just three years and was immediately hired as an instructor at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston in the spring of 2005.

After touring and playing with a host of artists, including Joe Lovano, Patti Austin, Michel Camilo, Charlie Haden, Regina Carter, Pat Metheny, Dave Samuels, and many others, in addition to heading her own jazz trio, Spalding recorded and released Junjo on the Barcelona-based Ayva imprint in 2006, following it with 2008's simply named Esperanza (on Heads Up Records), which scored big with critics and listeners alike. The album topped Billboard's Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and remained on it for over 70 weeks. In addition, it became the best-selling album by a new jazz artist internationally during 2008. Spalding followed it up with Chamber Music Society in August of 2010. The set comprised eight originals and three covers -- including Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington's "Wild Is the Wind" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Inutil Paisagem." It was performed by Spalding's quartet with guest vocal appearances from Milton Nascimento and Gretchen Parlato, a small string section, and guitarist Ricardo Vogt. The album reached number one on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, and she received a Grammy in 2011 for Best New Artist.

Spalding recorded a companion album to Chamber Music Society in 2011. Entitled Radio Music Society, the set included her regular band -- drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and pianist Leo Genovese -- with help from longtime collaborator Joe Lovano on saxophone and numerous guests: drummers Jack DeJohnette and Billy Hart, guitarists Jef Lee Johnson and Lionel Loueke, hip-hop producer and DJ Q-Tip, and a slew of vocalists, Parlato and Lalah Hathaway among them. It was released in the early spring of 2012. The following year she popped up on several albums by other artists, including appearing on Janelle Monée's The Electric Lady and Joe Lovano's Cross Culture, among others. Similarly, in 2014 Spalding was featured on vocalist Dianne Reeves' Beautiful Life and pianist Billy Childs' Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro. In 2016 Spalding returned to her own work with Emily's D+Evolution, an ambitious, prog-rock infused concept album revolving around a central character named Emily, Spalding's middle name. ~ Steve Leggett & Thom Jurek
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Radio Music Society

1. Radio Song

2. Cinnamon Tree

3. Crowned & Kissed

4. Land Of The Free

7. Hold On Me

8. Vague Suspicions

10. City Of Roses

11. Smile Like That

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Track List: Chamber Music Society

1. Little Fly

2. Knowledge Of Good And Evil

3. Really Very Small

4. Chacarera

5. Wild Is The Wind

6. Apple Blossom

7. As A Sprout

8. What A Friend

9. Winter Sun

10. Inutil Paisagem

11. Short And Sweet

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Track List: Junjo

1. The Peacocks

2. Loro

3. Humpty Dumpty

4. Mompouana

5. Perazuan

6. Junjo

7. Cantora De Yala

8. Two Bad

9. Perazela

x

Track List: Emily’s D+Evolution (Deluxe Edition)

1. Good Lava

2. Unconditional Love

3. Judas

4. Earth To Heaven

5. One

6. Rest In Pleasure

7. Ebony And Ivy

8. Noble Nobles

9. Farewell Dolly

10. Elevate Or Operate

11. Funk The Fear

12. I Want It Now

13. Change Us

14. Unconditional Love (Alternate Version)

x

Track List: Esperanza

1. Ponta De Areia

2. I Know You Know

3. Fall In

4. I Adore You

5. Cuerpo Y Alma

6. She Got To You

7. Precious

8. Mela

9. Love In Time

10. Espera

11. If That's True

12. Samba Em Preludio

x

Track List: Good Lava (Single)

1. Good Lava

x

Track List: One (Single)

1. One

Comments

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A breathe of fresh air
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I first saw her perform on tv in March 2008 on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show and I've been hooked ever since. Very well artistic and talented young lady.
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Total package!
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yaz-kaz
When Prince performed in Los Angeles for 21 nights a few years ago, she was one of the opening acts. She is a an amazing artist.
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mariakiwi6
Just love her. Saw her in Montreal, Saratoga Jazz Festival, and The Egg, Albany!
Best to happen to Jazz!!!
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adriannhawki n s
Pandora can we get some of her new album, please....
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tparshall1
I love this young woman. One of the finest artists to come along in many years. Amazing.
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One of the BEST EVER, in EVERY WAY POSSIBLE, & a few that WEREN'T until she came along.....I just watched the PBS show, the latest "In Performance at the White House", where she casually blew EVERYBODY away---inclu d i n g the Obamas!!!!! Everyone who performed was an absolute INSPIRATION with FEET, but Esperanza, Hip-Hop LEGEND MC LYTE, & Trombone Shorty dang near brought on an earthquake. I sure hope there's a repeat of this program soon, `cause my DVR ran outa tape. Or space. Or whatever it uses
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Saw this lovely beauty at the Stanford campus love that goddess voice sang it with feeling play a wonderful bass v
What a giant talent among the new taking there place as they grow
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oalero00
Unique sister in jazz...love her sound!!
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She's my wifey
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Caught this beautiful young lady performing here in Chicago a few years back at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra beautiful woman beautiful artist hands down the best jazz artists of all time
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what is to be said. i love this .esperanza's h e in dan good
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So love her "City of Roses"
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I love her soulful sound! 1love
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ESPERANZA SPALDING IS A F**KING GODDESS!!!
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Amazingly Speechless.
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So young and so talented.... t r u e prodigy!
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love her 3 snaps for JAZZZZZZZZZZ Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z MAN
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I love the way she musically presents her style of music, she will be a force to deal with in the jazz world, outstanding
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Hip Hop vs True Genius... You decide :) I know the answer.
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She's amazing
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Beautifully Talented!!!
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Seen her in concert three times!!! Waiting for new music!!
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In love with her....
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comprendeqmk 2 0 0 3
Love this music artist!
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tim72014
Something fresh and new. I love this artist.
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True artistry comes from this lady. Love her!!! Play that bass Mama!!!
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She is simply wonderful and amazing. Food for the soul
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I can find the words to describe this level of brilliance and beauty.
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The cutting edge... no doubt!!!
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Listen up Black family...you are you are Black Gold...this artist is amazing.
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Shes amazing
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She is simply bad a**
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her music epic
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Her music is great.
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I LOVE Esperanza Spaulding. She puts on the best show I've ever heard/seen!! ! I named my baby daughter after her Zoe Esperanza. :)
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lgaudet65
Beautiful
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Esperanza has the voice of an angel.
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World channel got me to listen to her.
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Brilliant. My wife an I have enjoyed her style with Lionel Loueke in Austin Texas (One World Theater), Chicago's Ravinia and House of Blues in Dallas, Texas. We anxiously await her next performance we get to attend. Her music and smile are both brilliant.
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I love this brilliant young lady!!! Saw her at the Ogontz Festival in Philadelphia and I was blown away. Such an exquisite talent and creative soul........ .
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So inspired by her music!
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Love her!! Rich musical style and voice. Just inspirationa l .
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iasiadeyo
Lover her music!
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I met Esperanza when she was a child, back when I used to go hang out with her brother at their house.
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My soul is at PEACE!!!! Thanks
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I recognized her true talent while listening the very first time and now I will never forget what originality and greatness sounds like. She is completely impressive.
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One of those rare occurrences where Music really does live-up to the place where Art lives.....!
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I LOVE what GOD has given us in Esperanza. Thank you GOD for YOUR creative spirit in this one your Child.
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