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Recommended Listening With Damian Erskine: Esperanza Spalding | “Chamber Music Society”

Bass CDs

Recommended Listening With Damian Erskine: Esperanza Spalding | “Chamber Music Society”

Meet Reviewer Damian Erskine ~

Esperanza Spalding

“Chamber Music Society”


Following the release of “Esperanza” which enjoyed 70 or so weeks on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts, “Chamber Music Society” is a mature and enjoyable fusion of her Classical Chamber Music roots and Jazz sensibilities.  We hear the return of Leo Genovese on Piano and I’m thrilled to hear Terri-Lyne Carrington on drums here.  Rounding out this group are percussionist Quintino Cinalli, a string trio and the always welcome addition of the great Gretchen Parlato lending her beautiful voice and a guest appearance by Milton Nascimento as well.

My impression here is that she’s already proven herself with her successes both on the road and with previous recordings so, now, she seems more concerned with the art of the group.  Co-producer Gil Goldstein lent his masterful sensibilities to this album and the refinement shows.  No one track beats you over the head but there is an inherent musicality and beauty to not only the musical result, but the over-all approach to the album.  Lush and interesting arrangements take these compositions to another level and while her voice is by far the focus (over her bass playing) her bass work is mature and brimming with confidence.

Rumor has it that the follow up album “Radio Music Society” will harken much more to contemporary R&B, hip-hop and other radio friendlier forms of music.  I am very much looking forward to that as well!

Esperanza is already proving herself to be one of those artists on whose music you can count on to be thoughtful and of a high quality in addition to in a constant state of evolution.

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