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Esperanza Spalding to Jazz Up DPAC

Kaitlyn Conway | Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What: Esperanza Spalding in


Where: DPAC: Leighton Concert Hall

When: Thursday September 23, 7 PM

How much: Regular $30, Senior $22, Student $15, Youth $15

Learn more: http://performingarts.nd.edu/calendar/view.aspx?id=289

This Thursday, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC) is welcoming Esperanza Spalding. Never heard of her? Well, it’s time to change that.

Spalding is a hot up-and-coming jazz artist whose most recent album, “Chamber Music Society,” debuted number one on the iTunes and Amazon Jazz charts. She also performed at 2009 White House Poetry Jam, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and on many other shows and other venues.

Even if you do not consider jazz to be “your thing,” Spalding has a voice that will draw you into her music. On her website, she’s described as having “a multi-lingual voice that is part angel and part siren.” Her songs are laid back and mellow, while at the same time being catchy and upbeat. Spalding has a wonderful command of both vocal and instrumental range.  Her music is both old-school jazz and contemporary. Her approach to jazz is bright and pop-oriented, while still maintaining that smooth jazz sound that everyone knows and loves.

Spalding’s love of music came first and foremost from her mother, who also shares a passion for singing. Her pursuit of bass came from a respect that grew out of watching Yo Yo Ma perform on an episode of the childhood classic, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Spalding began to pursue music on her own, basically teaching herself to play the violin within the year. She then joined the Chamber Music Society of Oregon, of which she remained a member for ten years.

During this time, Spalding discovered something that contributed more to what she is now: bass. She started to play blues, hip-hop, funk, and, you guessed it, jazz. The sound of her music brought flocks to the local clubs she played at.

Spalding released her first album, “Esperanza,” in May 2008. It remained at the top of “Billboard’s” Contemporary Jazz chart for over 70 weeks. She received both the Jazz Journalists Association’s 2009 Jazz Award for Up and Coming Artist of the Year and the 2009 JazzWeek Award for Record of the Year. She was nominated again in 2010 for the Jazz Journalists Association’s Award for Up and Coming Artist of the Year.

“Chamber Music Society” was released in August 2010. Inspired by the classical training she had when she was younger, the album keeps the surprise of jazz alive through improvisational jam moments. Other musicians on the album include pianist Leo Genovese, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, percussionist Quintino Cinalli, guitarist Ricardo Vogt, vocalists Gretchen Parlato and Milton Nascimento, violinist Entcho Todorov, violist Lois Martin and cellist David Eggar.

Thursday night’s performance promises to be a spectacular one, featuring catchy, unique jazz music. The performance is at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the Leighton Concert Hall of the DPAC.