Every now and then Zeus decides to mess with all the musicians and fires a bolt that knocks us into next week.
Esperanza Spalding is such a bolt. A jazz star has come to your town and mine; a bassist, singer and songwriter whose sound and style emanates from a place far beyond that of mortal men.
photo by Johann Sauty
I was a pin to Esperanza's bowling ball for 90 minutes in the packed Highline Ballroom on West 16th Street last evening, not knowing what to do with all the musical light, color and sound coming at me like a freight train except to clap and yell and turn from time to time to the three others at my table to catch an eye. Each time, all present just shook heads and directed attention back to the band, to the vibe and the groove borne of soaring voice and standup bass mastery, each member of the 4-piece band comprised of piano, drums and guitar delivering statements as sharp and succinct and compelling as expert swordsmen.
This tiny 24-year-old beauty expresses pure feeling beyond language, bypassing the mind and going straight to the heart and soul of jazz. All that can be done is to stand right there, let her zap you and cry Amen, that was music to my ears, brothers and sisters, you heard it right there, witness.
Mrs. M met Esperanza the day before her Highline Ballroom show at the radio station---the singer was there to do a live solo set and interview---and Mrs. M discovered ES often warms up with Al Hoffman's co-written smash, "Mairzy Doats."
You'll all know her, soon.
Esperanza Spalding and Mrs. M, post-show
Esperanza, post-show, and the still shell-shocked JM
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