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Christopher Moklebust
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Christopher Moklebust Love at first sight, quite a rarity - I still remember the first time I heard Esperanza Spalding on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series; and she's been such a seductive joy ever sense. Her fingers play your very soul and her voice lifts you up to heaven. Favorite track: Cantora de Yala.
Dillon Ethier
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Dillon Ethier Esperanza Spalding is a wonderful jazz lady, possibly from space and/or another dimension (supposedly Portland, but does anyone buy that?); I dunno, but she's awesome for many reasons. In particular, she's triply talented at singing, playing bass, and composing sweet tunes, and she absolutely excels in all three areas. She even sings in Spanish AND Portuguse o_o

Her more recent releases are even better than this one, IMHO, though they aren't on bandcamp. Favorite track: Mompouana.
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“Ace of Bass!”
Boston Globe

“She communicates her upbeat personality in everything she plays. She is definitely headed for a great career, and it will be soon.”
Gary Burton, multiple Grammy winning vibraphonist

It has been five years since Esperanza Spalding first entered the music world in Portland, Oregon, as part of a blues band created by veteran musicians. She had just turned 15 and had only been playing the bass for two months. Those who heard her all agreed that Esperanza showed surprisingly impressive talent. It was one of her first music teachers who realized that Esperanza, who had initially studied violin, should dedicate herself to the bass. Two years later, with the support of her family and friends, she was accepted at the Berklee College of Music. Currently, her artistic career is perfectly on track. She frequently performs at the most prestigious venues on the east coast (Blue Note, Dizzy’s Coca-Cola Club, Tanglewood Jazz Festival), and at the age of 20 graduated from Berklee and was made a part of the faculty, teaching bass classes. She has already started touring internationally, involved in projects such as saxophonist Joe Lovano’s quartet and singer Patti Austin’s band.

Simultaneously singer and bassist, Esperanza Spalding is an exception in the music world. Although its true that there are various examples of singers/electric bass players, it is not very often you come across vocalists that play the acoustic bass. This is even more unusual for a woman. Along with her notable musical talent, this unique combination is what is most often emphasized in reviews of Esperanza music. Following the performance of her jazz trio with Aruan Ortiz and Francisco Mela at Berklee, The Boston Globe named her “ a rarity“ within the panorama of today’s music scene.
At only 21 years of age, Esperanza is most similar to what is known as “a total musician.” In addition to singing and playing the bass, she is a composer and does all of her own arrangements. She also arranges her own versions of works of important contemporary composers. In JUNJO, the first musical production under the direction of this American artist, Esperanza gives her touch to pieces that range from the modern jazz trio with Chick Corea’s “Humpty Dumpty”, to contemporary Brazilian music with Egberto Gismonti’s “Loro”, to Argentine folk music with “Cantora de Yala.” Cantora de Yala is one such song that demonstrates Esperanza’s gift for reviving forgotten or little known musical works using only her voice, accompanied by the bass.

For Esperanza, this project is a dream come true. It is, at the same time, her first CD as well as the first production under her direction: a jazz trio in which she is indisputably the leader. The trio is completed with the artistry of two excellent musicians, pianist Aruan Ortiz and drummer Francisco Mela. JUNJO has Esperanza’s personal seal: the superb sense of time that she possesses and always succeeds in communicating to her audiences, and her great devotion to the instrument she plays. Synonymous with perfect musical fusion, the rhythmic and melodic sensitivity that Esperanza expresses on the bass is independent of that which she evokes as a vocalist. This extraordinary quality of hers never fails to surprise and amaze her fans and friends, as well as the musicians who have shared the stage with her.


released June 6, 2005



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