Esperanza Spalding - "Wild is the Wind"
In honor of Black History Month all the posts for this month will feature artists of color.
Esperanza Spalding is an organism of creation. She finds magical ways to continue pushing boundaries and growing her style. It is rare that we see a prodigy like this live up to the potential that was promises, but live up to it she does. She shines with it.
Spalding was raised in Portland, Oregon, and was a musical prodigy, playing violin in the Chamber Music Society of Oregon at five years old. She was later both self-taught and -trained on a number of instruments, including guitar and bass. Her proficiency earned her scholarships to Portland State University and the Berklee College of Music. In 2017 she was appointed Professor of the Practice of Music at Harvard University.
Ben Ratliff wrote in The New York Times in 2006 that Spalding's voice is "light and high, up in Blossom Dearie's pitch range, and [that] she can sing quietly, almost in a daydream" and that Spalding "invents her own feminine space, a different sound from top to bottom." Spalding was the 2005 recipient of the Boston Jazz Society scholarship for outstanding musicianship. Almost immediately after graduation from college later the same year, Spalding was hired by Berklee College of Music, becoming one of the youngest instructors in the institution's history, at age 20.
When asked in 2008 why she plays the bass instead of some other instrument, Spalding said that it was not a choice, but the bass "had its own arc" and resonated with her. Spalding has said that, for her, discovering the bass was like "waking up one day and realizing you're in love with a co-worker."
So today, with clouds in my coffee, I choose Esperanza Spalding’s cover of "Wild is the Wind" (though any of her original work would also do), as my go on and dare yourself, try the wild ones, rebel hearts need no taming, song for a, fly on, clouds like silk sheets, the sun is calling, Friday.