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The captivating bassist and singer ESPERANZA SPALDING’s “sprawling collage of jazz fusion, Brazilian, and even a touch of hip-hop” (PopMatters) has earned her critical acclaim, universal love, and four GRAMMYs—including Best New Artist in 2011, making her the first ever jazz artist to win the category. Her rise has been meteoric: after Junjo, her 2006 solo debut, came 2008’s chart-topping Esperanza, which led to a flood of high profile appearances including the White House, the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, and the 84th Academy Awards. Chamber Music Society (2010) and Radio Music Society (2012) followed, with awards arriving in a steady stream and the critics’ superlatives piling up apace. She remains jazz’s singular crossover beacon, a world-class musician in the guise of a pop star.
Her newest project, Emily’s D+Evolution rekindles her childhood interest in theater, poetry and movement and delves into a broader concept of performance. Originally conceived the day before her birthday, during a “sleepless night of full moon inspiration”, Emily’s D+Evolution will be performing all new material that Esperanza says “unfolds as live musical vignettes.”
JOSÉ JAMES is a fellow free-thinker whose breakout 2013 album No Beginning No End sounded “like the result of the black-pop continuum, jazz and soul and hip-hop and R&B, slow cooked for 50 years.” (NY Times) James was born in Minneapolis and moved to NYC to attend the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, where he started pulling his wide range of influences together into a signature sound. His first two records, The Dreamer (2008) and Blackmagic (2010), came out on the influential UK DJ Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings label. With No Beginning No End he moved to Blue Note, which also released 2014’s experimental While You Were Sleeping and his most recent, a tribute to Billie Holiday called Yesterday I Had the Blues that was produced by Blue Note president Don Was and featured Jason Moran, Eric Harland, and John Patitucci.