Esperanza Spalding-Chamber Music Society
Artist: Esperanza Spalding
Title : Chamber Music Society
Year : 2010
Label : Heads Up
Review: This is the breakthrough album for a mult-talented young artist who recently won the Grammy for Best New Artist of 2011. Listening to the 11 tracks on this intimate album, the implications of the title become obvious. This is a stylistic throwback to the classic jazz trio recordings ala Bill Evans or Ramsey Lewis but significantly updated in terms of content. The range of this recording is extremely broad, beginning with an understated adaptation of an Emily Dickinson's poem "Little Fly" followed immediately by a very uptempo scat-sung "Knowledge of Good and Evil." My favorite track is the Brazilian number "Inutil Passagem" where Spalding duets with Gretchen Parlato. Although there is a strong Latin influence in several of the numbers, there is enough variety to avoid monotony. The basic trio, Spalding (bass), Leo Genovese (piano) and Terri Lynne Carrington (drums) is augmented on occasion by a string trio and Latin percussionist Quintino Cinalli.
The audio perspective is very realistic with excellent balance between voice and instruments and places the artists in a soundscape that fits neatly into the space of a typical listening room.
Spalding has two previous releases "Esperanza" and "Junjo" both of which are also worth exploring.
Although it's been a year since your post, I must agree with your review of Chamber Music Society. This recording is available on vinyl too. She has also released a new CD, Radio Music Society. You can see how much she has grown in a year. She is using various Jazz musicians and some R&B musicians too. This music is involving and elaborate. I will be seeing her in concert in May. This will be the second time I've seen her live (I saw her last year). Although this isn't my preferred straight ahead jazz, I urge those who loves music to see her if you get a chance.