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Chamber Music Society CD

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

Price: £12.61 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 Aug. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Heads Up
  • ASIN: B003OFHMKO
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,716 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Product Description

Bassist, vocalist and composer Esperanza Spalding - backed by drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and pianist Leo Genovese - has created a modern chamber music group that combines the spontaneity and intrigue of improvisation with sweet and angular string trio arrangements. The result is music that weaves the innovative elements of jazz, folk and world music into the enduring foundations of classical music.

'Chamber Music Society' features not only Spalding's virtuoso bass playing but also her wonderful vocals, including duets with special guests Milton Nascimento and Gretchen Parlato. With string arrangements by co-producer Gil Goldstein, it showcases this brilliant young musical talent who isn't afraid to challenge the limits of jazz and its relationship to other forms of musical expression.

Esperanza first took the world by storm in 2008 with her self-titled Heads Up debut recording. Since then she has toured the world (with performances in the UK at the Barbican and Ronnie Scott's), performed at the White House, the 2009 Newport Jazz Festival and was invited by President Obama to perform at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in Oslo.

Personnel: Esperanza Spalding (acoustic bass, vocals), Leo Genovese (piano), Terri Lyne Carrington (drums), Quintino Cinalli (percussion), Ricardo Vogt (guitar), Milton Nascimento (vocals, track 6), Gretchen Parlato (vocals, track 10), Entcho Todorov (violin), Lois Martin (viola), David Eggar (cello)

BBC Review

For a relative stripling, Esperanza Spalding is already well-schooled in the mysteries of jazz. It's rare for an upright bass player to be an out-front singer, and such an oddity is even less likely to be female. Nevertheless, Spalding effortlessly entertains from a physically disadvantaged position, projecting to the furthest corners of any concert hall.

For her third album, New Jersey resident Spalding has created a more intimate pleasure. Its title hints at the subtleties within: Chamber Music Society finds Spalding's accustomed quartet augmented by a string trio. Her co-producer also happens to be Gil Goldstein, one of the prime arrangers in jazz.

Spalding's original compositions sound like standards already, and her specialised interests are becoming more apparent with each disc. Brazilian music is central, as is a predilection for lyrics that look to nature, symbolising humanity through references to the seasons, as well as flora and fauna. The opening Little Fly sets a William Blake poem, and the following Apple Blossom and Winter Sun continue this thematic sequence, combining fatalism, melancholia and hope.

Knowledge of Good and Evil is the first of the album's strongly Brazilian-steeped tunes, acting largely as a vehicle for Spalding's scatrobatics. Her brightly skipping voice is well-suited to such verbal dynamics – it’s a fragile instrument, but not weak. These unfettered vocal excursions might sometimes range close to risking excess, but they're invariably well-contrasted with the string trio's framing. As if one scatter wasn't sufficient, Spalding is joined on this song by Gretchen Parlato, one of the quirkier new jazz singers on the block.

Spalding introduces vocal overdubs on Really Very Small, prompting some impressive layering. Her keyboardist Leo Genovese contributes Chacarera, revealing that he too is spellbound by Brazil. David Eggar's cello solo features strongly, and the music of Argentina's Ástor Piazzolla also appears in the clunky angularities of the strings. There are endless details in the production, which is rife with string flourishes and percussion minutiae. Spalding doesn't overdo the bass solos, but there's a particularly nimble example during Winter Sun.

Milton Nascimento drops by for a duet on Apple Blossom, with the two singers exchanging roles of high and low-voiced parts. What a Friend is very reminiscent of Airto and Flora Purim's style, once again painting images of Brazil. Then, to crown the whole experience, it's down to Rio for a very minimalist interpretation of Antonio Carlos Jobim's delicately tiptoeing Inútil Paisagem (Useless Landscape).

--Martin Longley

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Having never listened to jazz before...I bought this album on a spur of the moment having read a review in a national newspaper. I have not been disappointed! I'm not sure what to say really about the album as I'm not qualified enough to talk about jazz...but what I do know is that I like good music. And I can tell you, this is good music. Fantastic vocals, brilliant musicianship, catchy songs. If anyone wants to point me in the direction of some other good jazz albums that would be greatly appreciated!
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I love jazz, but sometimes I feel that many of the most talented jazz artists get carried away in the demonstration of their technique and talent, at the expense of free expression of feeling jazz was once about. The result is solos with perfect technique that are nevertheless emotionally dry. 'Chamber Music Society' is the perfect antidote to my personal disillusionment; it takes amazing talent to bring across the sense of free-wheeling emotion and weightlessness that is integral to this album. This is contemporary jazz at its best - the music of the heart!
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Format: Audio CD
Esperanza Spalding is probably one of the most talented female modern jazz musicians of this decade. On her third album "Chamber Music Society", she blends her unique style of scat and singing to a background of her usual jazz instrumentation but, this time, with the addition of violins. This combination makes her third album her most original and accomplished work to date with a somewhat more mature feel to it. Although the latin influence seems less apparent here, the conviction and passion she shows to her music appear stronger, accompanied by a more assured sense of direction.

The opening track "Little Fly" and "Wild Is The Wind" are the two highlights of the album for me. Both are very well crafted, subtle yet incredibly haunting pieces of music with lovely vocals from Esperanza. The other tracks are very attractive too. "Knowledge Of Good And Evil" and "Chacarera" have mesmerising solo musical sections. Milton Nasciemento lends his vocals to "Apple Blossom" which make this track even more intriguing as they somehow blend really well with Esperanza's higher range. The only critisism I have is that a few too many of the tracks see Esperanza using scat rather than lyrics to accompany the music ("What A Friend", "Short And Sweet" and parts of "Inutil Paisagem").

Overall, the music is indeed very inspiring and captivating. The more I listen to this album, the more I enjoy the music, and the more I appreciate Esperanza's talent.
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By Geezer on 23 April 2011
Format: Audio CD
Delighted. Hoped to see Ms Spalding with Joe Lovano and US Five and didn't and sulked, then bought the cd on impulse anyway. It's so good I'm almost tempted to buy it twice. This is the album to buy is you've done the whole 'classic' jazz tour and are looking for something fresh. My only reversation about expanding my Spalding holding is that she looks different everytime I see her pic, and I'm a little concerned that her previous albums might not sound much like Chamber.
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This is a fabulous album. Its my introduction to her music and I love it. A breath of fresh air that i really needed. I strongly Advise anyone who loves jazz to buy this album the music is so versatile it can be used in a number of occasions.
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By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Jan. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Esperanza Spalding sings and plays the big bad bass.
This is to hugely understate her self-evident gifts!
Ms Spalding's formal musical studies shine through in
this, her third, wonderful album ('Jungo', 2006 and
'Esperanza', 2008 also deserve our attention and applause)
but are tempered by an appetite for improvisation and
exploration. Her way with the bass can be both light as a
summer breeze and as robust as a (well-behaved!) rottweiler;
her voice, a flexible, meliflouous and enchanting instrument.

She is joined on the eleven tracks in this collection by
Leo Genovese/piano, Terri Lyne Carrington/drums and a
beautifully integrated string trio. Gil Goldstein produces.

Highlights would have to include the delightfully sinuous
'Knowledge Of Good and Evil', an elegant and whistful
composition which finds Ms Spalding wordlessly warbling
along as though she hasn't a care in the world (Gretchen
Parlato provides additional vocal decorations). It's a
gentle feelgood number which wears its heart on its sleeve.
'Chacarera', too, weaves a tapestry of silvery magic in the air.
The mercurial interplay between voice, piano and cello (played
splendidly by David Eggar) together with the spluttering Latin
rhythm slips and slithers and slides like oil on water.
'Apple Blossom' delivers a lovely duet with Milton Nascimento.
An engaging and curiously affecting tale well-told by both singers.
Final track 'Short and Sweet' is a beautiful elegy whose subtly
crafted and understated thematic material brings the album
to a reflectively down-beat close (Mr Genovese's vigorously
lyrical piano solo deserves an especial mention all its own!
Read more ›
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If you love contemporary jazz you will love this. Esperanza Spalding is a unique talent. She uses her bass playing and her vocals to thoroughly explore every musical inch of the harmonic structures of the tunes, some self-penned, to great effect. And it all sounds so effortless. My only criticism is that sometimes musicians' music (as this is) can sometimes sacrifice emotional depth for scientific excellence. But I find most of these tracks stimulating, engaging and surprisingly catchy.
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