Esperanza Spalding // Emily's D+Evolution
Esperanza Spalding was quickly hoisted up as one of the saviors of modern jazz.
Esperanza Spalding was quickly hoisted up as one of the saviors of modern jazz. 2010's Chamber Music Society brought us something fresh, weaving classical prowess into lush symphonic imaginings. Radio Music Society again held true to the promise of its title, touching on poppier, more accessible sounds. This album is a further reinvention. From the opening of Emily's D+Evolution, you know you're in for something more dangerous. The first few tender notes from Spalding's voice are quickly rebutted by distorted dissonant tritones. "Good Lava" owes more to progressive metal than it does to bebop. Her musical vocabulary is nothing short of astounding. It's easy to see why critics get so excited about her, seeing an artist that's so clearly a genius. Her voice dances from rooftop to basement, like a less percussive Ani Difranco. Concurrently, chords frantically jump from one to another while her bass provides a virtuosic counterpoint. It's showy, but not overbearing. Walk away from tracks like "Earth to Heaven," and you'll be scatting them to yourself all day. All that, and it even sneaks in a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory cover. – Nick Warren