Esperanza Spalding - Emily’s D+Evolution: loud, funky, cosmic

Emmily's D+Evolution
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Artist: Esperanza Spalding
Genre: Jazz
Label: Concord

If Esperanza Spalding didn’t exist, we’d have to invent her. Improbably favoured with musical talent, lyrical smarts, movie-star looks and a sunny disposition, the bassist and singer enjoys that rarest combination of popular acclaim and peer respect, but creditably, rather than settling for either, she is following her own muse.

Her latest creation is a very personal, fantastically weird concept album, co-produced by Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti, performed ‘as live’ by a power trio that includes rising guitarist Matthew Stevens and either Karriem Riggins or Justin Tyson on drums. It’s a loud, funky, cosmic freak-out kind of record, charting a course somewhere between Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Cream, Prince and Stevie Wonder. Yes, there is a God and her name is Esperanza.

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a musician, writer and director