Feature

Esperanza Spalding: Radio Music Society

In her fourth album, the Grammy-winning singer blends genres again, juxtaposing “neo-soul and jazz-tinged pop.”

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“Esperanza Spalding’s fourth album is one of enormous ambition,” said Thom Jurek in AllMusic.com. The Grammy-winning singer, bassist, and composer is blending genres again, here juxtaposing “neo-soul and jazz-tinged pop” in highly polished tracks built from “sophisticated, busy charts.” On Chamber Music Society, the album that earned her a Best New Artist Grammy, she did something similar, but with greater emphasis on classical sounds. This effort “may play better to younger pop audiences than to more die-hard jazzheads,” but it’s so diverse that there’s no telling. Though “Spalding does not command one of the great jazz voices,” she knows her strengths, said Howard Reich in the Chicago Tribune. The melodies here “dodge and dart around the scale,” and the unexpected turns of the music create a sensation not unlike randomly “flipping stations on the radio dial and landing on a tune that you soon can’t get out of your head.” This is “music for grown-ups—or for kids with curious ears.”

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