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Esperanza Spalding Esperanza Spalding

Seven collaborative and five solo albums into her career at 31, Esperanza Spalding has always resolutely, intuitively, deftly expanded upon both her art and herself as a world-renowned genre- bending composer, bassist and vocalist. Spalding’s work, grounded in jazz traditions but never bound by them, has won her four Grammy awards and brought her onstage at the Oscars, the Nobel Prize Ceremony, the White House, and with Prince and Herbie Hancock. Not only does she know who she is, we know who she is.

Or, rather, we think we do. The elastic self and work of a true artist is always changing; ideas are channeled, shape-shifting becomes necessary. Emily’s D+Evolution (pronounced “d plus evolution”) is where we meet Emily—both Esperanza’s middle name and the label for the spirit- muse that flows through this multi-dimensional, theatrical performance artwork wrapped in a brilliantly urgent, vivacious record. With 6 tracks co-produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie) and drawing, at times, from wellsprings as disparate as Cream to Shostakovich to St. Vincent, Emily’s D+Evolution is a kaleidoscopic project; raw, honest, luminous.

“Whether you want to see it as devolution and evolution, and the place where they co-exist without one diminishing the other, or...barely having the tools that you need, but having to move forward, and having to keep moving,” Spalding explained to NPR in a recent interview, the album conceptually addresses the always exciting, sometimes messy process of reconciling the aspects of our selves that are in conflict. Exploding with literal and proverbial electricity, this album’s complex but immediate compositions were committed to tape partially live, and partially in front of a control room packed full of 20 or more onlookers. The trio of Spalding (fretless electric bass and vocals), Matthew Stevens (electric guitar) and Justin Tyson and Karriem Riggins (splitting drum duties) often decided to use the first take—a testament to the project’s particular energy and Spalding’s virtuosity. Many of the compositions on Emily’s D+Evolution were, after all, incubated onstage during the rigorous live performance schedule that preceded it.

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Those following jazz ought to keep an ear on the bassist ESPERANZA SPALDING, who is going about things her own way. She's got good tone and conservatory training, but so does everyone else these days. More important, she already sounds distinct. Essentially she's a singer, using both her instrument and her voice to similar ends. Her musicality is all integrated: The Esperanza Spalding experience is light, melodic, joyful, always sort of minimalist and airborne.”

- Ben Ratliff, The New York Times

“Ms. Spalding is still enamored of Wayne Shorter’s harmonic depth and Stevie Wonder’s melodic lift, but her frame of reference has broadened in salutary ways: ‘Funk Your Fear’ ha(s) the serpentine gnarl of a Funkadelic anthem, and ‘Noble Nobles’ brazenly evoke(s) Hejira-era Joni Mitchell.”—NY Times

“...a fresh artistic vision for the four-time Grammy winner, a daring tapestry of music, vibrant imagery, performance art and stage design.”—Ebony

“Emily’s D+Evolution is more than a recording project, it’s an awakening of her inner child

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Albums

Album Emily’s D+Evolution by Esperanza Spalding

Emily’s D+Evolution

Concord Music Group
2016

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Jazz Ain't Nothin But...

Heads Up International
2012

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Album Black Gold by Esperanza Spalding

Black Gold

Heads Up International
2012

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Album Radio Music Society by Esperanza Spalding

Radio Music Society

Heads Up International
2012

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Album Junjo by Esperanza Spalding

Junjo

Heads Up International
2011

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Album Chamber Music Society by Esperanza Spalding

Chamber Music Society

Heads Up International
2010

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