Esperanza Spalding

A prodigy on acoustic bass (which she only picked up after essentially teaching herself violin), and already an accomplished singer and songwriter by her early 20s, Oregon native Esperanza Spalding took the jazz world by storm last spring after the release of her eponymous U.S. debut (a previous album, Junjo, was released in Spain). As a bassist, she breezed through Berklee; at age 20 she became the youngest faculty member in the college's history, and soon landed gigs with the likes of Joe Lovano, Michel Camilo, and Pat Metheny in addition to establishing her own group. Spalding's voice is as supple, wide-ranging, and rhythmically charged as her bass work, and has already earned her comparisons to Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Carter. On Esperanza (Heads Up) she not only scats but sings in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. In fact, there is a significant Brazilian streak in much of her music: She covers Milton Nascimento's "Ponta De Areia" and Baden Powell's "Samba Em Preludio," and elsewhere fuses bits of samba with bop, pop, and soul for a sophisticated, alluring sound. There's also a glorious, Latin-tinged version of "Body and Soul" that she sings in Spanish. Spalding's quartet will include pianist Leo Genovese, drummer Otis Brown, and guitarist Ricardo Vogt. $25 at 7 p.m.; $20 at 9:30 p.m.
Thu., March 5, 2009

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