Esperanza Spalding

Courtesy of Esperanza Spalding Com

By Thomas Semioli

Every generation begets a bassist who re-writes the book on what the instrument is, where it stands in the present, and where it can go in the future. Enter Esperanza Emily Spalding in the 21st Century….


A child protégé at the age of five, she began performing with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon.  Spalding took up the double bass at Northwest Academy in her teens, and never looked back. By the age of 20 she was teaching at Berklee.


Championed by Gary Burton and Pat Metheny, Esperanza emerged as a solo recording artist in 2006 as she established herself as an in-demand collaborator, composer, educator, and session player. She has toured and recorded consistently since then, waxing albums which traverse classical, Latin Jazz, hip-hop, funk, pop, soul, art-rock, and permutations thereof.


A recipient of several high-profile awards (Grammys, Downbeat polls, Boston Music Awards, to cite a few…) Spalding’s crossover appeal echoes the aesthetic of Miles, Herbie Hancock, Metheny, Stanley Clarke, and Chick Corea (among others, primarily in the 1970s) who brought the art-form of jazz to a wide audience.  Perhaps as a child of the 1990s, an era wherein genres collided at the dawn of the digital age, the idea of “jazz” as stand-alone musical platform was obsolete. When I meet Esperanza, I’ll ask her!


Among Esperanza’s most visible weapon of choice is the Fender Fretless Jaco Pastorius Jazz bass.


Esperanza Spalding Sound & Vision…


“Move Many Joints”


“Black Gold”


“Endangered Species”  


“I Can’t Help It”


“Lest We Forget”


“Ways Together”


“She Got To You”


“Wild Is The Wind”