Saturday, April 06, 2013

Esperanza Spalding & Radio Music Society review

With her bass and her big ass afro, Esperanza Spalding is one of today's top jazz artists. I wasn't able to see her when she came to Toronto last summer. So I made sure this time and went to see her at Massey Hall last night. This is my first visit to Massey Hall with the powerchair. I'm glad the building is to be renovated. They need a new elevator. It's too small. I barely got into it. Last night's show is based on Esperanza's latest CD Radio Music Society. The concept is she is the DJ for this live radio show. The bandstand is made to look like a boombox. The band has a large horn section. There appear to be a couple of recent changes to the band. Sax player and music director Tia Fuller left and was replaced by Hailey Niswanger. She is a native of Portland, OR just like Esperanza. And with the death of guitarist Jef Lee Johnson, Brazilian Ricardo Vogt has been brought in. Vogt has worked frequently with Esperanza in the past. It looks like Argentine pianist Leo Genovese is the new musical director. He has worked with Esperanza for a few years. The other musicians appear to be veteran sidemen (or women) including Lyndon Rochelle on drums, Jeff Galindo and Corey King on trombone, Ben MacDonald on trumpet, Leala Cyr on trumpet and backup vocals, Dan Blake on saxes, Aaron Burnett on baritone sax and Chris Turner on backup vocals. If you are familiar with the Radio Music Society CD, you'll know that it is a mix of various jazz styles with a lot of R & B tossed in. The show flows very well and all the musicians get a chance to shine. I don't know the song title but there was one number where Esperanza is discussing romance with Hailey but Hailey is speaking with her sax. It's pretty funny. The show was over two hours long but it sure didn't seem that long. That's always a good sign. Esperanza Spalding is getting a lot of mainstream attention and it will be interesting to see how that affects her music. I may go see her next time she comes to town.

No comments:

Post a Comment