Monday, April 16, 2012

Esperanza Spalding: Radio Music Society

"She conceived of 'Radio Music Society' as the extroverted, electric flip side of 'Chamber Music Society,' originally with the intention of making songs that could get airplay. ... But as she got deeper into the process, she realized she didn’t want to excise solos just to suit the constraints of a radio format. While 'Radio Music Society' is crowded with several generations of jazz musicians — including her old mentor from Portland, the trumpeter Thara Memory, along with his students — she’s front and center at every turn. Which is partly a matter of style: 'Radio Music Society' reaches most for the gleam of aspirational pop in the Stevie Wonder vein. ... Befitting that lineage the album mingles love songs with social commentary. Its lead single, 'Black Gold,' is an exhortation aimed at African-American boys, calling up a cultural legacy that predates slavery. The Wayne Shorter fusion anthem 'Endangered Species' comes with new lyrics framing an environmental parable. 'Land of the Free' reflects on the exoneration of a Texas man, Cornelius Dupree Jr., after 30 years of wrongful imprisonment for rape and robbery. 'Vague Suspicions' is about America’s violent incursions in the Muslim worldd'" (Nate Chinen, "The Rookie of the Year, One Year Wiser," New York Times, 3/16/12).

View catalog record here!