After surprising many at the 2011 Grammy Awards, Best New Artist Grammy award winner Esperanza Spalding is not new to the music scene. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, she tought herself how to play the violin by the age of 5. She also played oboe and clarinet before discovering the bass in high school. Esperanza began her musical journey with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon, attended the music program at Portland State University, and finally ended up with a full music scholarship at Berklee College of Music Boston, Massachusetts. At Berklee she became the youngest professors in the institution’s history, at age 20.
Her first album on Heads Up International, Esperanza, released three years ago, was dubbed “jazz for the iPod age,” and led Spalding to be called the “new hope for jazz.” Spalding performed on such notables as the Nobel Peace Prize concert in 2009, a tribute to Prince at the BET Awards last summer, as well as the White House. She released her most recent album titled Chamber Music Society.
I was fortunate to see her a couple times at Jazz Alley in Seattle and I’m happy she finally got the recognition that she deserves. New artist or not, Esperanza’s style is intimate, delicate and emotionally driven. She performs with so much passion, that is harnessed & focused so effortlessly.
Check out her rendition of Nina Simone’s Wild is the Wind above.
And here she is on a little interview on Vimeo:
[itunes link=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/esperanza-spalding/id73212782?uo=4″ title=”Esperanza Spalding”]