Esperanza Spalding is an astonishing performer, and puts forth eir all in creating a stellar album in Radio Music Society. It may be only two years since 2010’s Chamber Music Society, but I feel that there has been considerable evolution in terms of the types and styles of music that issue forth here. Radio Song is a straight flip of what one would expect; I believe that what Spalding is doing here is attempting to redefine what radio songs can be, as well as setting the stages for the wide array of different styles and influences that are to follow on Radio Music Society. What Spalding does is expand the horizons of what jazz can entail; there is no reason that a Land of the Free should not be played on radio rotation.
Crowned & Kissed is more of a discussion of the power dynamic present; one may be put on a pedestal, but there is an emotional choice made to do so. It is this intricate linking of the instrumental arrangement with Spalding’s soul that makes each of these efforts so impressive. Radio Music Society succeeds because Spalding puts eir all out on the line, even when ey is winding down the release. Late album tracks like Vague Suspicions and Endangered Species continue to add more to Spalding’s mystique, while providing listeners with some semblance of where ey may go in the albums to follow.
Make sure to purchase Radio Music Society from your local well-stocked music store, see if Spalding is coming to a venue near you, and be prepared to be hit by some of the best music so far in 2012.
Top Tracks: Crowned & Kissed, I Can’t Help It
Esperanza Spalding – Radio Music Society (CD) / 2012 Heads Up / 12 Tracks / http://www.esperanzaspalding.com/ /