Esperanza Spalding by Joy Tippens

Blessed with beauty and talent, this 2011 Grammy Award winner for Best New Artist is a vocalist, composer, and musician. The Portland, Oregon native discovered a passion for music at an early age, but her artistic nature didn’t blend well with the traditional education system. By age 15 she left high school, earned her GED, and enrolled in the music program at Portland State University. The rest, as they say, is history. Spalding went on to Graduate from the Berklee College of Music and became an instructor there at age 20.

Best known for upright bass, Spalding also performs bass guitar. With 5 solo albums to date, and too many collaborations to name, the multi-talented artist performs not only chamber music, but also jazz, and R&B. With her velvety vocals, she may woo you in Brazilian, soothe you in English, or amaze you with her scat. Esperanza seemingly does it all. Her youthful performances are captivating. My personal favorite tunes of hers are “Autumn Leaves,” and “Short And Sweet.”

Having performed everywhere from the White House to Letterman to the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, Esperanza is the artist to see. She tours all over the world, but you can catch her here now in North America. She finishes out June with performances at the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival, with a final U.S. performance in Saratoga Springs, NY, before setting off to begin her European tour in the Netherlands. Esperanza is on Facebook, Twitter, and at


Joy Tippens



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