“Spalding is obviously star material of the first order, the kind of performer whose passionate, uninhibited absorption in what she’s doing ineluctably lures you into her world.” -Paul de Barros, Seattle Times
“The Esperanza Spalding experience is light, melodic, joyful, always sort of minimalist and airborne.” -New York Times
Since becoming the first jazz artist to win the Grammy Award for “Best New Artist” in 2011, musical prodigy and bassist Esperanza Spalding has taken the jazz world by storm. A preternaturally gifted musician, Spalding taught herself to play the violin in her youth, before moving to the bass at age 15. At sixteen, Spalding earned her GED and left high school to enroll in the music program at Portland State University. Spalding then enrolled at the Berklee College of Music, earning her degree in an impressive three years before being hired in 2005 as the youngest faculty member in the school’s history at only twenty years old.
“Esperanza Spalding has quickly demonstrated that she’s an artist of great beauty, grace, and daring… one of the most exciting on the music scene.” —DownBeat
Spalding’s rise to prominence can best be described as meteoric and her star has only continued to rise. In 2008, she released her first solo album, Esperanza. The record became the best selling album by a new jazz artist internationally in 2008 and spent over seventy weeks at the top of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart. The New York Times raved, “Esperanza has got a lot: accomplished jazz improvisation, funk, scat singing, Brazilian vernacular rhythm and vocals in English, Portuguese and Spanish. At its center is a female bassist, singer and bandleader, one whose talent is beyond question.”
Spalding has played alongside Joe Lovano, David Samuels, Patti Austin, and Pat Metheny and in 2009, she played with Stevie Wonder at President Obama’s Inauguration Gala. She has appeared on numerous national television programs, such as The Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Austin City Limits, and the 2012 Oscars ceremony.
“Her unique quality is something that goes beyond her pretty amazing musical skills; She has that rare ‘x’ factor of being able to transmit a certain personal kind of vision and energy that is all her own.”—Pat Metheny
In March 2012, Spalding released her fourth album, Radio Music Society, a genre-bending follow up to her 2010 hit, Chamber Music Society. Radio Music Society was well received by fans and critics alike; the ablum debuted at number one on the Top Jazz Albums chart and number ten on the Billboard 200 chart. Radio Music Society binds Spalding’s love of Brazilian music with threads of gospel, soul, and big band swing. Along with a sprawling eleven-piece ensemble, she also brings along the fiery alto saxophonist Tia Fuller (Beyonce), serving as musical director.
“Radio Music Society…indicates that Spalding won’t be suffering a career reversal anytime soon. Young, gifted and backed by an impressive array of pop, jazz and hip-hop talent, as well as some of her early mentors…[Spalding] has created her most enticing, personal and thematically diverse collection yet, a welcome companion to her 2010 release Chamber Music Society.” -The Washington Post
Spalding currently maintains a relentless touring schedule that has taken her to four continents, sharing the stage with Prince, Wayne Shorter, and many others along the way.
“There are many gifted singers in jazz today, and no shortage of accomplished acoustic bass players. But few jazz artists can be both.” —NPR
“Spalding has made her mark not just as a virtuoso jazz bassist or an effortlessly nimble singer but as an exotic hybrid of the two.” —New York Times