Sunday February 26, 2012
Esperanza Spalding’s ‘Radio Music Society’ Charms NYC Listening Session
By: Jozen Cummings
All eyes were on Esperanza Spalding at yesterday’s (Feb. 23) NYC listening session of her album, “Radio Music Society,” although the musician herself was not in attendance.
Projected over a large screen, a small group of writers were treated to 12 consecutive whimsical videos of Spalding, one for each of the songs on the album’s deluxe version. A lavish concept thought of by Esperanza, herself, for her most anticipated album to date.
Ever since Spalding shocked the world with her Best New Artist win at last year’s 53rd Annual Grammy Awards — beating out more popular competition like Justin Bieber and Drake — fans, and non-fans, have been waiting for “Radio Music Society” (March 20). Her fourth studio album was announced soon after her surprising win, thus at the time, the curious who never heard of Spalding only had her previous effort, “Chamber Music Society,” to use as a measuring stick. If the heady, highbrow, classical-influenced project didn’t impress, it certainly left Bieber and Drake fans wondering what made Spalding so special?
“Radio Music Society” is Spalding’s answer to the skeptics, even if she doesn’t intend it to be so. Nothing about this project feels like an attempt to cross over, but everything about it is undeniably more accessible than her former. As a bassist, she’s one of jazz’s brightest talents. As a singer, she can carry a note with the best of her peers. Both gifts are on full display, but it’s Spalding’s knack for songwriting that puts “Radio Music Society” in a category of it’s own.
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