Editors' pick

Esperanza Spalding

Please note: This event has already occurred.

Editorial Review

Jazz sales were nosediving even before the music industry started to tank, and the passings of old legends scarcely crack the attention spans of millenials and young adults. Jazz music still produces amazing musicians and new ideas but audiences don't care so much, at least on these shores. So it's more than a little bit coincidental that new jazz sensation Esperanza Spalding's name means "hope" in Spanish. Her stunning beauty and youth puts a lock on the marketability aspect that jazz struggles with, and her chops will silence any critic before they could have a fleeting thought of calling her a gimmick. As a childhood musical prodigy, Spalding jumped from violin to bass and was working on a university music degree at 16 after playing the bass for less than two years. Her vocal style somehow developed along with her mastery of her instrument, and she employs them both symbiotically, leading her band with an upright bass and accompanying it with agile scat singing. Oh, and in between touring the world and playing with heavy cats like Stanley Clarke and Michel Camilo, she's held down an appointment as an instructor at Berklee College of Music since she was 20. Experience the talent that should propel jazz far into the future tonight at The Birchmere.

-- Rhome Anderson (June 2008)