Esperanza Spalding

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(Bio by Rocco Stilo)

Portland-born (1984), bassist, vocalist and composer Esperanza Spalding already played violin at five years in Chamber Music Society of Oregon, then self-teaching on playing also guitar and bass. After having performed live in various clubs, she started the career with Junjo, her first credited album, that was studio recorded in april 2005 in a trio along with drummer Francisco Mela (he played also with Joe Lovano) and pianist Aruan Ortiz. Also on vocals, Spalding composed nine pieces of latin jazz.

Esperanza, that collected various studio sessions recorded in 2007 with different lineups, saw her also on electric bass, along with Leo Genovese (various pianos), Jamey Haddad (percussion), Otis Brown and Horacio Hernandez (both on drums), Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet), and veteran saxophonist Donald Harrison (who also played with Art Blakey and Don Pullen).

Chamber Music Society collected other three sessions (october and november 2009, plus january 2010) performed mostly with the same previous personnel; Spalding composed eleven tracks a bit away from her debuting latin jazz, and more improvisations. This album also sold well enough.

Radio Music Society, recorded during summer 2011 in various sessions, also reunited in different lineups some jazz giants (Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Billy Hart), featuring more styles, from soul to gospel and funk, and some jazz covers.

Emily's D+Evolution, coproduced with Tony Visconti (the old David Bowie's collaborator), another multisession album recorded in 2015, was a bit more rock and progressive: its twelve piece present always a different lineup, with leader also playing guitar and synthesizer.

Exposure, released as a limited edition, and recorded in a 77-hour (!) session in september 2017 live-streamed also on Facebook, collected other new ten pieces.

Among her collaborations, let's remember the Joe Lovano's project Us Five, with which she recorded Folk Art (november 2008), Bird Songs (september 2010) and Cross Culture (january 2012).

Spalding also appeared in NOVA (april 2015), the well known science TV series, for the broadcasting of "The Great Math Mystery", speaking about relations between music and mathematics.

Esperanza Spalding's seventh studio album, 12 Little Spells was a multisession work of sixteen new songs released in 2018 one by one, performed with a large electroacoustic 22-musician ensemble. She performed on vocals, piano, electric organ, electric bass and bass drum.

Songwrights Apothecary Lab (june 2021) was performed, among others, by Steve Turre (conch shell), Chris Scholar, Corey D King and Matthew Stevens (guitars), Leo Genovese (piano), Michael Neil aka Phoelix (piano, organ and synthesizers), Wayne Shorter and Aaron Burnett (saxes). Spalding played bass, piano and synthesizer.