I didn’t know who Esperanza Spalding was before this show. But she defied my expectations by being a fairly tiny woman who sings while playing an upright bass (not a very common combination for anyone).
For the first song, “Little Fly,” she plays a kind of jazzy bass, but has a string accompaniment–violins, guitars etc. But it’s clear that the bass is the star. And while her playing is very good (she has some great vibrato), it’s her voice that is mesmerizing–she’s hunched over playing the bass and still manages to sound strong and powerful. “Little Fly”‘s lyrics come from a poem by William Blake.
“Midnight Sun” is a solo performance–just her voice and bass. I loved the beginning where she sang notes along with what she played. Then when the lyrics come in she sings in a very jazz voice (with eyes closed the whole time). Turns out this is a Lionel Hampton song that only appears on the Japanese release of her album which make explain her singing style.
Because on the final song she sounds very different. “Apple Blossom” is her own composition. It’s her singing with the string section playing along (there’s no bass). The song is lovely, but I prefer it when she plays bass in the song, too.
I enjoyed this performance and how delightful Spalding was.
[READ: January 9, 2016] “My Saga: Part Two”
Speaking of not finishing multi part essays, I ended my post about Part One of this essay by saying I couldn’t wait for part two. And then apparently I forgot all about it because here it is almost a year later before I read part two (which was published two weeks later).
In this second half of Karl Ove’s journey he spends most of his time realizing that he hasn’t really learned very much for his assignment. I can’t imagine anyone else being able to write endlessly about how he has nothing to write about (and still make it strangely compelling–his stress produces good sentences).
He does make some interesting connections though. (more…)