Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society

Posted January 16th, 2012 at 1:55 pm (UTC+0)

Esperanza Spalding's Radio Music Society

Esperanza Spalding's Radio Music Society

Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Grammy-winner and jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding has released a new album titled Radio Music Society. It is considered a companion to the bass virtuoso’s 2010 best-selling album Chamber Music Society, which became a number 1 hit on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart.

The 26-year-old, who will be touring the world in April,  catapulted to fame when she became the first jazz musician to receive the Grammy Award for Best New Artist last year. She received the award for Chamber Music Society.

The new CD, Radio Music Society, is accompanied by a separate deluxe DVD that contains 12 conceptual music videos on which Spalding expresses her inspiration for the album and tells the story behind each track. The videos were shot in several locations, including Spalding’s hometown of Portland, Oregon. Other locations include New York City; and Barcelona, Spain.

I tried to interview her to talk about the new album and her interest in the music of other cultures, including that of Brazil, but her schedule is too tight.

“Originally I thought it would be fun to release a double album,” Spalding said in a press release promoting Radio Music Society. “One disc with an intimate, subtle exploration of chamber works and a second one in which jazz musicians explore song forms and melodies that are formatted more along the lines of what we would categorize as ‘pop songs,’. Those are the two things that really interest me, and it intrigues me to think about different presentation approaches while writing each kind of song.”

At the end of 2011, Spalding was named the Jazz Artist of The Year in the 76th Annual DownBeat magazine readers poll.  In addition, last November Spalding won the Jazz Artist of the Year award at the annual Boston Music Awards ceremony.

One of the biggest breakout stars of 2011, Spalding has two other albums: Esperanza (2008) and Junjo (2005).

The multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer and singer grew up in the King neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. Her mother raised her and her brother as a single parent. She says she has a diverse ethnic background, noting that her mother is Welsh, Hispanic, and Native American, and her father is African American.

For more on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site,

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