Esperanza Spalding – Festival de Jazz de Vitoria-Gasteiz 2012

Born in Portland, Oregon, the great Esperanza Spalding a female bassist and singer performs in ” Festival de jazz de Vitoria – Gasteiz”  located in Vitoria, Spain. Esperanza Spalding plays upright bass and also electric bass. She is one of the female bassist that I’ve witness who has mastered the bass. First song of the festival is titled, ” hold on me”. The beginning of the piece begins with Spalding singing great melodies and lyrics with also responding with her upright. Her communications with musicians show how great discipline they have to work with her singing and not playing over her. She ends the first piece with a long voice line which surprised the audience with her great voice. Spalding has great Melisma skills with her voice which leads her voice to what ever shes playing on the bass. Her second piece “smile like that” it’s more of a modern jazz piece which starts out with a Bossa style and leads into a modern jazzy pop tune, like Herbie Hancock. The piece sounds very dissonant on the solo. Soloing on dissonant changes can be difficult for a musician to lose focus on the changes. Her winds section really take their solos to a new level. And the best part is, the bass just follows along with whats happening. Jeff Lee Johnson is the guitar and he sounds very versatile the way he switches from a jazz sound to a heavy rock sound. Every time he changes the sound, he also changes the melodic style of his performance and solos. The third piece is titled, ” Cinnamon Tree” and she grabs her electric bass which for me is just amazing. Her tone on the electric bass is incredible and just for a fact, finding a great tone on the electric is sometimes complicated. Her bass sounds as if she were to use the neck pickup, but shes adding a lot of rhythmic elements that sound like she was influenced by Jaco a bit. On the ending solo, Jeff Lee Johnson takes a solo and he pulls out his blues sound which could influenced by B.B King or other blues guitarist. This piece mostly focuses on Johnson’s guitar solo throughout the end. Spalding’s wind players are also versatile in which they do chorus lines while the solos are happening. Her fourth piece is titled, “Black Gold” which starts with a gospel style. This piece features Spalding and her trumpet player Igmar Thomas on voice. Her fifth piece “Radio Song” could be compared to soul bands like James Brown but incorporated with jazz. On that same piece, Spalding announces all of her musicians that performed on this festival which are, Jef Lee Johnson – guitar, Leo Genovese – piano, keyboards, Jeff Galindo – trombone, Corey King – trombone, Daniel Blake – tenor sax, Aaron Burnett – tenor sax, Tia Fuller – alto sax, Igmar Thomas – trumpet, Lyndon Rochelle – drums, and Chris Turner – vocals. Esperanza Spalding has been one of the female bass players to play seriously and professional. Her communication throughout her instrument is something that other players could take into consideration and use it for their performance as well.

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