Tonight's episode of the Jazz Connexion featured a profile on the prodigious, 25 year-old Esperanza Spalding. Her claim to fame is playing her bass and singing simultaneously. Since her debut at 15 with Portland group Noise for Pretend, she has created a spectacular, and still blossoming, solo career that shows why she is seen as her generation's most electrifying jazz star. This has resulted in pairings with legends Mike Stern, Francisco Mela, Lionel Loueke, Joe Lovano, and many others, right alongside fellow up-and-comers Christian Scott and Aaron Parks. Bass in hand, Esperanza infuses Afro-Caribbean grooves with Prince songs and manages to marry the driving sounds of Loud Rock with the lightest most delicate bass lines. Hers is a name to watch for, and certainly someone to be listening to whether you're an experienced connoisseur or you're trying to take your first steps into the world of jazz.
The following is tonight's playlist. All songs feature Esperanza Spalding on the vocals and/or bass.
1. Noise for Pretend - Happy You Near - Pants With His Halfway Down
2. Esperanza Spalding - Junjo - The Peacocks (this track was my first exposure to her sound as a freshman jazz DJ at KWLC)
3. Esperanza Spalding - Junjo - Loro
4. Lionel Loueke - Mwaliko - Twins
5. Lionel Loueke - Mwaliko - Flying
6. Mike Stern - Big Neighborhood - Bird Blue
7. Christian Scott - Anthem - Litany Against Fear
8. Esperanza Spalding - Esperanza - Mela
9. Esperanza Spalding - Esperanza - Espera