Esperanza Spalding: I Know You Know


I Know You Know


Esperanza Spalding (bass, vocals)


Esperanza (Heads Up International 3140)

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Esperanza Spalding (bass, vocals), Leo Genovese (piano, keyboards), Jamey Haddad (percussion), Otis Brown (drums).

Composed by Esperanza Spalding


Recorded: Acton, Massachusetts and Jonesborough, Tennessee; no dates given (CD released in 2008)


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

The stuttering bass patterns and semi-dance beats of Esperanza Spalding's "I Know You Know" provide the hooks, but the recording is defined by its fusion of acid-jazz and a certain 70s old-school soul R&B vibe. It is an interesting pastiche; at the outset, listeners will hear the solo sound of Spalding's upright bass as it sits alone in the dark, dusty nightclub that the production style attempts to envision. As the rhythms enter, her snappy vocals display great range and her confidence as a performer shines through in her gutsy reach for notes that constantly build upon each other. Perfectly in tune and in sync with the mood of the recording, this track documents the immediacy of her individual vocal style well. The beats are interesting; they are not "jazz," per se, but find their beginnings in hip-hop production. The track will probably not remind you of many others you've heard, and that individualism underscores a recording that manages to sound as innovative and as fresh as groups like the Pharcyde, the Fugees, and the Roots did on their first few respective albums-meaning that the Nu-Soul movement is still alive and well.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary


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