Esperanza Spalding
Esperanza


4.5
superb

Review

by Will IV USER (5 Reviews)
November 19th, 2008 | 33 replies | 8,535 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Best jazz album of 2008

4 of 5 thought this review was well written

It was late at night and The Late Show with David Letterman was almost off the air. I hadn't slept in over 24 hours- the pixels on the television were starting to melt together. All of a sudden, the picture cleared up, my eyes widened, and a rush of energy woke me up. I was literally on the edge of my seat. "Who is this?" I found myself repeating this out loud in excitement. Her name is Esperanza Spalding, possibly one of the most talented musicians to ever grace the stage on David Letterman's talk show. At a meek age of 20 she became the youngest professor at Berklee College of Music, and while that is certainly impressive, it doesn't automatically mean she's got the talent to lead a jazz band. However, listen to her impressive debut, Junjo, and I'm sure you will agree, she definitely does have the talent.

Esperanza is the sophomore effort by singer and jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding. She also serves as the producer, as well as chief composer and songwriter, and she's as beautiful as she is talented. While Esperanza is jazz at heart, don't be completely fooled here, this is sprinkled with pop, R&B, and Latin (with help from brilliant flamenco guitarist Niño Josele), making Esperanza as diverse as it is fun. Her voice, often the driving force, is gorgeous, her "scatting" is enjoyable, and her Spanish is inviting. Beyoncé comes to mind in thinking of comparisons, but this isn't quite fair to Miss Spalding's variety and beauty as a vocalist. She is truly unique.

While Esperanza thrives on the outstanding vocals and brilliant musicianship, it suffers in length at just over one hour. While that might not seem too lengthy, some of the tracks here drag just a bit, most notably on "I Adore You." Length does work in her favor on a couple of occasions. "If That's True" is a seven and a half minute all out jam session that truly embodies the very soul of the word "jazz." At 8 minutes, Esperanza's reworking of Johnny Green's "Cuerpo Y Alma" (Body and Soul) is diverse enough to stay interesting until the very end, especially with Esperanza's scats and freestyle vocals along side the 5/4 time signature. "Precious" is one of the best songs on this album, and one of my favorite songs of 2008. It's poppy core makes it catchy, the bass line makes it cool, and the vocals really shine here. All in all, Esperanza is one refreshing album.

Despite her youth, Esperanza Spalding has really burst into the jazz scene with fervor and grace. Her talent is obvious, i can only hope that on her next effort she allows someone else to take the producer reigns, and with the right person, Esperanza Spalding could be a force in jazz for years to come.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
bastard
November 19th 2008



3435 Comments


split your paragraphs and I will vote.

robin
Emeritus
November 19th 2008



4223 Comments


i did anyway, great review.

foreverendeared
November 19th 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sorry about that. Thanks guys. This will be in my top of 2008 list. I hope some people check it out

bastard
November 19th 2008



3435 Comments


It's cool, good work.

foreverendeared
November 19th 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah it's kind of short, but i basically just cut out all the fluff bullsh*t and this is really all you need here to get a basic understanding of the album

username345
November 19th 2008



594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, I looked up some vids on youtube and am definitely getting this.

username345
November 19th 2008



594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I have now bought it. =D

foreverendeared
November 19th 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cool, let me know what you think!

Yori
November 19th 2008



3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great album.....short review tho.....

foreverendeared
November 20th 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes i realize it's short. I did so on purpose

foreverendeared
November 20th 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

and in doing so, failed in my attempts to reach the sputnik community so they will listen to this

BallsToTheWall
November 20th 2008



44164 Comments


Nothing problematic about the length at all. Good work. I probaly missed this due to my fascination with another site in particular which will rename nameless for public concern. Will myspace.

foreverendeared
November 20th 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks bro. and yeah, we wouldn't want our fellow sputnikians to jump ship

ohcleverhansyou
November 20th 2008



885 Comments


I got this because of the review, good so far. She has a nice voice. But in reference to the summary, I've heard some pretty good jazz CDs this year...

foreverendeared
November 21st 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

me too, but none this fresh, exciting, and fun

username345
November 22nd 2008



594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This has just arrived in the post. Me like a lot.

foreverendeared
November 23rd 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awesome. tell me Precious isn't like the greatest thing ever

foreverendeared
December 18th 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

bump. people need this album.

Lions
June 29th 2009



1015 Comments


I saw her play at newport festival once when I was watching PBS and I was blown away. It was some song about moonlight and it was just her with her voice and a bass, and was one of the most beautiful, talented things I've ever heard. You're review just convinced me to get this.

foreverendeared
June 29th 2009



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cool that's good to hear i'm helping spread the word. She definitely deserves it with her talent



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