Esperanza Spalding brings a spectrum of tastes to the Keswick

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Esperanza Spalding | Photo courtesy of the artist
Esperanza Spalding | Photo courtesy of the artist

Bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding responded to becoming jazz’s “it girl” – she was, after all, the one artist who could nab a Best New Artist Grammy from under Justin Bieber’s tween-dream coif and win one for the jazz team – by going ambitious. On her last two albums, Chamber Music Society and Radio Music Society, Spalding folded all of her multifarious musical interests into two packed albums. Each was designed to represent one side of her compositional personality – the first rooted more in her jazz and classical studies, the second drawing on her pop and soul tastes. But both crossed over into the other’s territory, with guests from both worlds mixing together and showcasing her agility at combining all of her influences into an organic whole.

And all of that before she even turned thirty, a landmark that she’ll hit later this month and is now celebrating with a brief two-week tour that will bring her to the Keswick on Thursday. A refreshing change from the larger-scale Society performances, she’ll pare down to a trio for the occasion, with keyboardist Leo Genovese and drummer Lyndon Rochelle. It’s an opportunity to scale back to jazz basics, not that she has anything to prove in that department – at the same time that Spalding has been releasing her own albums, she’s also recorded and toured with heavy hitters like saxophonist Joe Lovano, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, and trumpeter Tom Harrell.

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