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Esperanza Spalding – What now?

Esperanza Spalding, 2008 Newport Jazz Festival

I have a soft spot in my heart for Esperanza Spalding. I used to catch her on OPB on whatever local arts show she happened to be playing that month. It was shocking and amazing when she won the Grammy for Best New Artist. Life changing.

So what is a female-jazz-bassist-vocalist-extraordinaire to do after you win a Grammy, and one of the most prestigious mainstream Grammy’s at that?

Well, if you’re Esperanza Spalding, you would have already released another album BEFORE you won that Grammy for “Best New Artist” (a gripe for another day). An album with wildly different instrumentation and stylistic choices (2010′s Chamber Music Society) and you would tour the hell out of everywhere. Which she has done.

But what then?

Well, you keep defying expectations and you start recording an album of your own experimental compositions with your trademark Brazilian inflection that incorporates a bunch of fascinating covers as well.

In short: what do you do after you win the Grammy for “Best New Artist”? Whatever the hell you want. Other mainstream artists who win the award would do well to follow suit.

Radio Music Society is scheduled for release on March 20th, 2012.

You can catch Esperanza in NYC at Webster Hall on April 21st.



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