Not to take anything away from the dream state caused by playing Esperanza Spalding, but you would be just as safe if your neck was that of the upright bass she fingers to death, peacefully of course. Esperanza is a deity of your subconscious, seen casually, or maybe heard in passing. Until now you probably never really took the time to notice her delicate touch in pop music's monotony of nightmarish lady ghouls. Her invasion of this year's BET Awards, sandwiched between Janelle Monáe and Alicia Keys during the Prince tribute was the secret ingredient that was worthy of a double-take. It was a 'who's that girl?' moment, and within minutes her jazzy ensemble left a memory stain too noticeable to ignore. Spalding's third album Chamber Music Society, which drops on August 17th, is a continuation of her 2008 album, Esperanza. With hopes of her next release having the same effect of her previous work, we've planted five seeds to rock your mind, body and soul.
ESPERANZA SPALDING, "LITTLE FLY"
Beware venturing into the unknown part of radio. That side of the FM dial where there's mostly static and dead air, chances are, the only real signs of life in radio's equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle are some notes from a bare bones recording of a cello or bass like Esperanza's. When not lingering in the peaceful gaps between her solo-ed bass and brief silence, the lyrics to "Little Fly" from Esperanza's next release are the sweet nothings originally written by poet, William Blake. Relax and take notes at the flowery language, because the song might be your only saving grace when you've left the transmitting range of your local Clear Channel-owned station.
ESPERANZA SPALDING, "I KNOW YOU KNOW" (ON JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE)
When waiting on a heavily-caffeinated drink from your local coffee shop, there's a chance to take in the ambience: the barista, the wallpaper and maybe the CDs for sale at the counter which barely get the time of day even if a Wyclef album is perched next to it. But most of the time, what's helping you to process the sights is the sound of the establishment's playlist, likely to be titled "Earl Grey." It's not so bad after all, unless it's a bubbly-faced guy with a guitar singing in place of Esperanza, then he can be the convenient coozy needed to wear the the hot liquid in your hand. YOU ALREADY KNOW.
The fact of the matter is, out of all the ladies that could have been Prince's girlfriend back in the day, Esperanza is the real keeper. Obviously because her dedication was "If I Was Your Girlfriend," she automatically earns dibbs on the first dip into Lake Minnetonka. The last one in is a rotten egg (no shots at Patti.)
ESPERANZA SPALDING, "OVERJOYED" (STEVIE WONDER COVER AT THE WHITE HOUSE)
If there was a bid in to live on in infamy, it would have to be Barack Obama's pitch to get a better song about his presidency than Thugnificent's collab with will.i.am. Hey, Stevie already immortalized the late great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in one of the biggest songs of his career, so Obeezy deserves a nod, right? With that in mind, the gala hosted at the White House earlier this year brought out veteran crooner Tony Bennett and even Esperanza Spalding to cover Stevie's "Overjoyed." Maybe a remix of one of Stevie's existing classics is an order: "Master Blaster," "Pastime Paradise," "Higher Ground," ride these.
ESPERANZA SPALDING'S EPK FOR CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY
[vimeo width="570" height="489"]http://vimeo.com/12205114[/vimeo]
Esperanza breaks down the meaning behind her new album on Concord Music Group. "Chamber Music, it's music for the home, or music for a party, or music for dinner, or music for, when you're at work, or music for when you're in a big room and it's a hall. It's for everyday people; it's often referred to as music of friends," she says in her in-depth look at how she records. Whether you watch all 13 minutes and 58 seconds of the video or just let the audio play in the background, it's the closest re-interpretation of a really long segment on NPR. Good times... good times.