CD Review: Esperanza Spalding “Radio Music Society”


Radio Music Society is the most appropriate title for this album by Esperanza Spalding. Listening to this CD, I felt when each track changed, I was going to a new radio station on the dial. There are jazz and lounge qualities to the album, then the tracks in between were rock and rol-esque. Esperanza made me think of Sade with a 1930’s lounge singer style. The range that the singer has is amazing, scatting like an old time jazz singer, who has the vocal range of some great singers. This singer does more than put out a voice, she also plays bass and violin. She is an artist apart of the Chamber Music Society. Most recently, she appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman in March, before going on tour.

“I Can’t Help It” is my favorite track on this album. The phonetic pace of the jazz music makes Esperanza vocal-flow seem like a hip hop hook with her tempo. There is a slight lull in the middle of the song, then after a slight build up, the energy of the song returns to normal. “Black Gold” is also a great smooth, relaxing song with Algebra Bassett.  “Hold On Me” has a grandiose feel, a big band feel, like from the roaring 20’s. Listening to these songs was like being transported to a different time. The songs on this album have a similar feel to it, they have a heavy jazz influence. Most newer albums that use less contemporary music blend it with something popular of the day. Spalding’s album does not follow that recipe. This album was like putting a vinyl on the turntable, and there is amazing sound coming from the music she has created.

This album is available on iTunes as well as her on her on website http://www.mmsies.com/store/index.php?p=home&store=201003MB-02&cookies=true . If you are a jazz fan or want to listen to something different and entertaining, get this album. Check other works by Esperanza, as well as a tribute album to Billie Holiday. Great album, go get and listen to it!

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