BREAKOUT JAZZ BASS PLAYER AND VOCALIST ESPERANZA SPALDING IN JORGENSEN CABARET
Thurs, Apr 25, 2013, at 7:30 pm | Doors open at 6:30 pm
The Grammy-winning jazz phenom Esperanza Spalding will stop at Jorgensen’s Cabaret on her popular Radio Music Society tour Thursday, April 25. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for food and drink (cash only) before the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Spalding, the first jazz musician ever to win the Grammy for Best New Artist (2011), just picked up two more in 2013 – Best Jazz Vocal Album (topping a class that included the work of Kurt Elling, Denise Donatelli, Luciana Souza and Al Jarreau) and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists (with mentor Thara Memory) for the song “City of Roses.”
Radio Music Society (2012) is the second in a one-two punch originally envisioned as a two-disc set that kicked off with her 2010 chart topper, Chamber Music Society. Her recording career began with Junjo in 2006, followed by Esperanza, her 2008 international debut recording, which quickly topped Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart and became the year’s best selling album worldwide by a new jazz artist.
Attention followed, including an invitation by President Barack Obama to appear at both the White House and the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, and an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman that found Letterman and bandleader Paul Shaffer proclaiming the young musician the “coolest” guest in their 30 years on the air.
The young lioness, now 28, first felt her creative heartstrings plucked at age 4 when she saw cellist Yo-Yo Ma play on TV in an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. “It was definitely the thing that hipped me to the whole idea of music as a creative pursuit,” the bassist/vocalist/composer says.
Spalding basically taught herself the violin and was admitted at age 5 to The Chamber Music Society of Oregon, a Portland community orchestra of children and adults. In 10 years she was at the concertmaster level. By then she had discovered the bass and before long was playing blues, funk, hip-hop and such on the local club circuit.
Changing coasts, she went to Berklee College of Music for three years of accelerated study, earning her bachelor of music and signing on as an instructor in 2005 at the age of 20, one of the youngest faculty members in the college’s history. That year she won the prestigious Boston Jazz Society scholarship for outstanding musicianship.
Besides her own touring, Spalding has toured with Joe Lovano’s US 5, performed at Rock In Rio with Milton Nascimento, played at Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” tour and joined Wayne Shorter in celebrating Herbie Hancock’s 70th birthday at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
Jorgensen’s Cabaret was designated “Best Cabaret” in Connecticut Magazine’s 2011 and 2012 “Best of Connecticut” issues. Jorgensen was also named Best College/University Performing Arts Center in the Hartford Advocate Best of Hartford Readers’ Poll for 2012.
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2132 Hillside Road on the UConn campus in Storrs. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Sandwiches, dessert, alcohol and other beverages can be purchased before the show (cash only). Or pre-orders can be placed at www.jorgensen.uconn.edu. Ticket prices are $32, $30 and $27, with some discounts available. For tickets and information, call the Box Office at 860.486.4226, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., or order online at jorgensen.uconn.edu. Convenient, free parking is available across the street in the North Garage.