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Esperanza Spalding Esperanza Heads Up International

Haddad brings his rhythms on the caxix, hadgini, bongos, cymbals and crotales to this winning piece as well. This is a great introduction to the album and prepares listeners for the versatility heard in each composition. ‘She Got to You’ is a scintillating joyride. Pianist Leo Genovese lays down the framework for this heady piece. His chameleon-like delivery adapts to all facets of this track. Donald Harrison’s additions on the alto saxophone are compelling and strategic. He often appears to either compliment the heavy bass lines or to add texture between each verse with his solos. This song’s bravado and charm make it one of the many jewels on Spalding’s album. Spalding jokingly refers to ‘Precious’ as the band’s feeble attempt at making a pop hit. Yes, the song has the mainstream appeal of a grooving chorus and the “you tell it, girl” attitude, but the subtleties give this song its power. The infectious bass line provides the far-reaching, open quality for the track. Spalding’s voice is nearly perfect on this song and is the culmination of the varying styles she presents throughout Esperanza. “Every one of them is phenomenal,” says Spalding when discussing the level of skill her band members embody. “They’re at the top of their class, so that made it very easy. They came in really ready to work and with their creative juices flowing. It also helped that they were deeply committed to the project.” The two compositions that prove that fact are ‘Mela’ and ‘If That’s True’. The driving forces on ‘Mela’ are heard in the notes played

by trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, Genovese’s skills on the ivories and the drumming of Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez. Spalding’s fleeting voice and Akinmusire’s patterned styles consume the spaces with their melodies. The presence of both Harrison and Akinmusire on ‘If That’s True’ is a welcomed duet. Their solos at the beginning are a great segue for the resonate arrangement heard later. Otis Brown Jr. displays his fine improvisational skills on the drums to produce the overall force to this song. The level of musicianship on this song establishes ‘If That’s True’ as one of the captivating heavyweights on Esperanza. “It’s totally inspired me to practice harder than ever,” Spalding says about the high praise for the album. “I want to make sure that I’m doing the work that warrants that type of attention.” Esperanza is one of the best albums of 2008—hands down. Esperanza Spalding’s glowing talents as a singer, songwriter and musician are experienced in each composition. The noteworthy pieces such as ‘I Adore You’, ‘Espera’ and ‘Cuerpo y Alma’ are wonderful complete the beauty of Esperanza. From beginning to end, it is a well-crafted piece of work that stands as a testament to her sheer dedication to creating great music. “I want to make sure that the music is continually growing. When I’m not cute and young anymore, the music will carry on regardless of what happens.”

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11/19/08 4:50:22 PM


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