The Tape Deck: Spalding Your Esperanza

Monday, February 14, 2011

Yes, it is Valentine's Day today (gnaws on a caramel chocolate chew) and well, there was a thought of doing a "romance" themed tape deck today, but I threw the idea out and considered that you should be 'loving' the sounds of Esperanza Spalding today instead. Reason for the switch is to celebrate that Spalding received the Best New Artist Grammy last night at the Grammy ceremony. It's a very deserving win for the Portland, Oregon born bassist, and something that makes me believe that someone on the Grammy committee has their ears unwaxed and can hear real music at play. Even though there were tons of immature sore losers trying to dampen the mood, Spalding still comes out classy and as a fan, she had one of the best moments of the evening. To sweeten the win, Spalding also made some Grammy history for being the first Jazz artist to get the coveted award. Shawiing.

I came to love Esperanza about a year after her second album, Esperanza (2008) was released, and fell in love with tracks like "I Know You Know" and "I Adore You". As a casual Jazz fan who grew up with a Jazz loving father in the house, I appreciated her approach to bridging popular soul elements with classic echos of the Jazz craft.  And to get music nerdy, I love how when she gets into a Brazilian Jazz place she takes some cues from one of my favorite singers, Flora Purim (YouTube/Google for your music history lesson). In addition to her talent, you gotta love Esperanza's hair! She's just winning from all sides...So for those of you who went "Who??!" when Spalding's name was called and for those who would like to get further acquainted, here are eight of my favorite performances and tracks from Ms. Spalding to get you in the mood to check out more.

1. I Know You Know

2. Precious

3. I Adore You

4. Tell Him

5. Little Fly

6. I Can't Help It (Michael Jackson cover)

7. She Got To You

8. Overjoyed (Stevie Wonder cover)

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