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June 07, 2007

Esperanza Spalding Concert


I liked this concert, "but" not as much as some people did. She's a capable singer, but all I heard were elements of Blossom Dearie, Betty Carter, and Carmen Macrae. I would hope that her delivery and tone will "mature" in time. She's a capable bass player, but again I don't think she has fully developed her own tone on the instrument. She scatted note for note while playing on two songs which I liked better than her regular vocals. I also wish that in the future that she would develop an ability to play with a bow(which I did not see on the stage). I mention this is because, it would be nice to see a woman do something in the style of Slam Stewart and Major Holley. I think that it would be wonderful if she could pull it off.

Miss Spalding definitely has a stage presence. Her introductions to the tunes were warm and sometimes very humorous. She didn't seem to mind poking fun at herself. To showcase her naturally abilities, she played three different types of acoustical basses. One of her better singing efforts was a Brazilian song which she sang in Portuguese. Her voice, which I've made comments on previously was perfect in this setting.

Regardless of what I have said about her performance, Ms. Spalding knows how to choose musicians. There were a couple of instrumentals that transported me to the "Sunday at the Village Vanguard" recordings(1961). The pianist, Leonardo Geonvese has a physical resemblance to Bill Evans which may have influenced my self-induced time machine trip . Lyndon Rochelle is the perfect percussionist for this ensemble.

With apologies to Cornelious Ryan, Ms. Spalding's encore was "a song too far". Having said that, I would not mind purchasing a ticket to her concert if she ever appears in the Burlington area again, just to hear her if she "ages" gracefully.

June 7, 2007 at 02:36 PM in L.J. Palardy | Permalink


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I jumped the gun and posted some remarks elsewhere on this board. But it's ok, since my friend L.J. and I seem to have seen two different performances happening at the very same time!

Rather than re-post my observations, I trust anyone interested will look for them - and then (one hopes) weigh in with an opinion - perhaps another view entirely!

Posted by: David Beckett | Jun 7, 2007 4:52:20 PM

Any comments on BassDrumBone?

Posted by: David Beckett | Jun 8, 2007 2:46:47 PM

I did not see this particular concert but have heard Esperanza twice before in Boston, and have studied upright bass. Consider the way bass functions in a jazz band: keeping perfect time; not only articulating the chord changes but playing interesting variations of these using perfect intonation; never getting lost in the form of complex tunes such that all the other players listen to her/him for direction if they have problems; never taking a break unless/until a drummer solos. Until now, relatively few women players could handle it. The fact that Esperanza can do all this gracefully, plus simultaneously sing melodies with lyrics (more in the way of vocals than Stewart or Holley ever tried), is astonishing. She is a young lion equal to anyone you can name.

Posted by: Catherine Lee | Sep 5, 2007 6:03:41 PM

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