Esperanza Spalding

All of a half-dozen years have passed since Washington native Esperanza Spalding, then 16, left Portland State University to accept a scholarship to Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Since then, she’s graduated early, accepted teaching duties at Berklee, and landed tours with jazz saxophone master Joe Lovano and R&B veteran Patti Austin. Junjo, Spalding’s debut as a leader, is a trio date with Cuban musicians Aruán Ortiz (piano) and drummer Francisco Mela; she plays and sings on a nine-song set featuring originals and inspired takes on Jimmy Rowles’s “The Peacocks,” Chick Corea’s “Humpty Dumpty,” and Egberto Gismonti’s “Loro.” Recently transplanted to New York, Spalding freelances with the likes of trumpeter Christian Scott and saxophonist Donald Harrison, and writes and arranges for her quintet, featuring Scott, saxophonist Mike Tucker, drummer Lynden Rochelle, and alternating pianists.
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