Esperanza Spalding is a very interesting talent. Her debut album "Junjo" takes a very intriguing perspective on modern Jazz and infuses Latin arrangements with mesmerising bass playing. The album is therefore very daring whilst coming across as very accomplished and mature.
The opener "Peacocks" is a very varied instrumental with some lovely piano improvisations and a relaxed feel to it. "Loro" is slightly more vibrant and uplifting with some great bass playing and scat from Esperanza. "Humpty Dumpty" is a very pleasant track with a nice melody composed by Chick Corea. "Mompouana" follows in the same line with some more solid piano playing and "Perazuan" is very simple yet effective with just piano and scat. "Junjo" is more experimental and quicker paced but does not deflect from the quality of the album. "Cantora De Yala" is a sentimental song with Latin influences and features some sweet vocals from Esperanza. "Two Bad" is another pleasant Jazz improvisation and the final short track "Perazela" is a vibrant scat.
There are a lot of highlights on "Junjo" and it is a very promising debut from a great new talent. It would be very nice to hear Esperanza sing a little more and write lyrics to her adventurous music, but for now, "Junjo" will do just fine.
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