Emory Report
November 9, 2009
Volume 62, Number 10

Esperanza Spalding

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November 9, 2009
Jazz prodigy Esperanza Spalding makes Emory debut Nov. 14

By Jessica Moore

At age 4, after watching classical cellist Yo Yo Ma perform on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” an inspiration came to Esperanza Spalding. “It was definitely the thing that hipped me to the whole idea of music as a creative pursuit,” says Spalding, the jazz bassist and vocalist.

Within a year, Spalding learned to play violin well enough to become a part of the Chamber Music Society of Oregon. By age 15 she became their concertmaster, but also discovered the bass and other music genres. Now in her mid-20s, the musician, composer, model and instructor is a hit on the late-night television circuit and garners illustrious honors, such as opening the first White House Poetry Slam last May.

Spalding’s international tour brings her to the Schwartz Center for a Candler Concert Series performance on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. with drummer Lyndon Rochelle and pianist Leo Genovese. The program includes selections such as Betty Carter’s “Jazz Ain't Nothing but Soul,” the Brazilian hit “Punta de Areia” and many of Spalding’s own compositions including as “She Got to You,” “Sunlight” and “Winter Sun.”

As an Emory Coca-Cola Artist-in-Residence, Spalding will lead a masterclass for Emory jazz students that is free and open for public observation on Friday, Nov. 13 at 3:30 p.m. in the Schwartz Center, Tharp Rehearsal Hall. Director of Jazz Studies Gary Motley says, "Esperanza Spalding represents the future of jazz. It is important that we continue to pass the jazz tradition on to younger generations. How fortunate we are that artists like Esperanza are graciously embracing this responsibility and charting a new and exciting course for this music."

Tickets ($50; $37 Emory faculty, staff, discount category members; $20 Emory students) are available at 404-727-5050 or www.arts.emory.edu.