Esperanza Spalding: Ponta de Areia

Music, like boxing, is more about interesting combinations than sheer brute force. Esperanza Spalding has a number of surprising combinations up her sleeves. First, her doubling on acoustic bass and vocals is an unusual mixture in the jazz world. Her songs also reflect an interesting combination of world music and jazz traditions. And even within the jazz sphere, she draws on both mainstream and crossover styles. Here she tackles a number that Milton Nascimento recorded on a memorable date with Wayne Shorter more than thirty years ago. These are big shoes to fill, but Spalding pulls it off with grace. She has a beguiling singing style, more pop than jazz, but with enough substance to satisfy the more reasonable members of the jazz "authenticity" police. A gracious release by a promising talent.

May 12, 2008 · 80 comments


Wayne Shorter (with Milton Nascimento): Ponta de Areia

The leader of the date is Wayne Shorter, but vocalist Milton Nascimento almost steals the show with his catchy melody and sweet wordless vocal. Nascimento has an angelic falsetto, which he demonstrates to good effect on this track. But Shorter adds a surprising twist by matching the sound of his soprano sax to the timbre of Nascimento's voice. The result is five minutes of blissful music-making, a fresh take that ignores the expectations of Weather Report and Blue Note fans, and reveals instead a different side of Wayne. Folks like Pat Metheny were obviously listening. This whole mixture looks forward to Still Life (Talking) and Metheny's other Brazilian-oriented 1980s projects. But this music doesn't need later events to validate its importance. Its own merits are eminently accessible, even on a first hearing.

January 18, 2008 · 0 comments


Previous Page | Next Page