Really happy to see Michael Gonzales’s byline appear in London’s The Telegraph. His piece goes a long way towards answering the question: “Who is Esperanza Spalding?” for those who only became aware of her upon her Grammy win. Here’s an excerpt:
Spalding is phenomenally talented – and a rarity in the male-dominated jazz world. Her calloused hands look hardly big enough to hold a double-bass, let alone play it as breathtakingly as she does.
At 20 she was hired to teach at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, just after graduating from there. In 2006 a tiny label released her debut album, ‘Junjo’, an exhilarating hybrid of jazz and Latin rhythms.
And two years later a follow-up album, ‘Esperanza’, came out and her fortunes took a sharp upward turn.
Between that and her most recent release, ‘Chamber Music Society’, Spalding has been on stage with Prince, performed twice at the White House, played at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, starred in a Banana Republic advertising campaign and appeared on various American talkshows.
Having seen her play in Central Park in 2009, where she opened for the soul singer Ledisi, I can confidently say she is something special.
Read the full piece here.