"She has a great time feel, she can confidently read the most complicated compositions, and she communicates her upbeat personality in everything she plays,"  says Executive Vice President Gary Burton (Berklee) about Esperanza. "She is definitely headed for a great career, and it will be soon." With such acclaims and a contract with one of the finest labels in contemporary jazz Esperanza looks into a splendid future.

The Berklee absolvent had already touring experience with the likes of Patti Austin, Joe Lovano and Pat Metheny. “Working with Joe was terrifying,” she recalls, “but he’s a really generous person. I don’t know if I was ready for the gig or not, but he had a lot of faith in me. It was an amazing learning experience.” Esperanza's first project was Junjo, an album with Cuban musicians Aruán Ortiz (piano) and Francisco Mela (drums).

Esperanza is 23 years young but has the knowledge of an advanced professional. Her profession is jazz. "We need to keep in mind that the type of music that I am trying to thrive in, that is jazz, is no longer the popular music of the type of people it grew out of. I mean jazz, I think in its most popular days, was the music of young people who considered themselves awfully hip. And shoot, before that, it was just the popular dance music. So now, unless I want to go into hip-hop, or Neo-Soul, which is our "jazz" now as far as the role these genres play in the music genre lineage, I have to be prepared for the seasoned "art" community everywhere I go. It seems to me that is what jazz is becoming. I mean anytime you can go to a school and receive a BA or MA in some form of expression, you know it's lost it's street value.”

Her debut album on Heads Up International is called Esperanza, that means in Spanish hope. The album is scheduled for release in May 2008. Esperanza was joined by flamenco virtuoso Niño Josele (guitar), Jamey Haddad (percussion), Horacio "El Negro" Hernández (drums), Donald Harrison (sax) and many more. "All of us had the same intentions in the studio," she says. "Everybody gave  really everything we could give because you really wanted it to be the best that could possibly be. It was like a family affair. There are things on there that you'll dig  if you're a Jazz listener and things you'll dig if you are not a jazz listener. That's the objective - to serve as many people as possible with the music." 

The first track Ponta De Areia was written by Brant Fernando Rocha / Milton Nascimento and became popular by Wayne Shorter on his album Native Dancer (1974).  This Brazilian-oriented jazz-fusion masterpiece receives a new African-Brazilian touch with African pot drums and Esperanza's lovely vocals. Excellent Leo Genovese on piano.

I Know You Know is a love ballade extraordinaire showcasing Esperenza's huge talent as bassist, singer and composer. This remarkable natural born feeling for jazz as a musical form of expression is well-developed. Fall In is another slow ballade presenting Esperanza's heartfelt vocals with Leo's sensible piano accompany.

Esperanza's great scat song talent shines on the Brazilian influenced I Adore You. Jamey Haddad and Horacio "El Negro" Hernández deliver the right Brazilian feeling. Leo Genovese's piano play is flawless and breathtaking. Bravissimo maestro! Cuerpo Y Alma (Body And Soul) is with more than eight minutes the longest track on this album. It's a song written in 1930 by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton and Johnny Green and a jazz standard covered by hundreds of interprets. Esperanza adds her personal note by singing this tune in Spanish.

She Got To You is settled in the straight ahead area. A song of a disappointed, disillusioned, deserted ex-girlfriend full of bitterness. The song text is in strong contrast to the up-tempo melody. Precious is a smooth, caressing melody. The same theme but defined from another standpoint. Here is singing the self-conscious proud young woman knowing about her importance and worth.

Mela is featuring avant-garde jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. In 2007 Akinmusire was the winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition, two of the most prestigious jazz competitions in the world. Anew Esperenza shows her tremendous bass and scat singing talent. More extravaganza in Love In Time. Esperenza sings in the style of Sarah Vaughan.

Esperenza is the Spanish word for hope. Espera the word for anticipation. In this song cynicism is melting with hope. A dark outlook in the future perspectives of today's youth. If That's True is a long straight ahead jazz session presenting all current members of Esperenza's team in their own solos. Samba Em Preludio is the intimate closer, a duet of Esperenza singing in Portuguese language and flamenco virtuoso Niño Josele with his subtly textured guitar style.

Friends of jazz, Brazilian music, upright bass or just intelligent music will be impressed by this multicolored album of young genius Esperenza Spalding.



  • Bio
  • Esperanza Spalding's website
  • CD available
    • in all stores

  • Album information:

    Title: Esperanza
    Artist: Esperanza Spalding
    Year: 2008
    Length: 1:07:56
    Genre: General Jazz
    Label: Heads Up International

    01 Ponta De Areia [5:39]
    02 I Know You Know [3:47]
    03 Fall In [3:57]
    04 I Adore You [7:27]
    05 Cuerpo Y Alma (Body & Soul)[8:02]
    06 She Got To You [4:29]
    07 Precious [4:25]
    08 Mela [6:58]
    09 Love In Time [5:47]
    10 Espera [4:40]
    11 If That's True [7:33]
    12 Samba Em Preludio [5:12]