Esperanza Spalding: Espera
Esperanza Spalding (bass, vocals)
Esperanza (Heads Up International 3140)
Composed by Esperanza Spalding.
Recorded: Acton, Massachusetts and Jonesborough, Tennessee; no dates given (CD released in 2008)
Rating: 85/100 (learn more)
"Espera"'s atmosphere is romantic, and Esperanza Spalding's smooth vocals fit the occasion. Her bass playing is just as smooth, as it glides atop richly textured layers of sound and always rests firmly at the center of the action. In both of her musical roles, Spalding proves that she is, simultaneously, spontaneous and versatile, as her natural inflections cut at the boundaries of what should be expected from such a traditional set of chords. Vocally, she stamps the tune with an immediacy reminiscent of vocal greats like Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan, and these inflections should stand the test of time given their inventive nature. The vocals are clear, the playing is crisp, and the composition itself is aimed at the heart. Sincerity is its focus, and the compositional allusion to unwavering faith amidst tough times is striking. As the track ends, Spalding repeats the mantra "I won't give up," and it is apparent that she is so affected by the sentiment that she is offering listeners an inside glimpse of her true personality.
Reviewer: Marcus Singletary