Esperanza Spalding Group
Location: Raven Theater
Address: 115 North Street, Healdsburg
Time: 8:00 pm (please note start time)
Tickets: $45 General, $65 Gold Circle
“Whether exploding into vocalese or making her bass solo sound like a horn, she’s a spark plug who dances as she grooves through a funked-up and rocked-out repertoire.”—Billboard
From Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie to Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck, jazz’s greatest figures have often served as musical ambassadors. Bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding has stepped confidently into the role of jazz’s most charismatic 21st century emissary, equally comfortable laying down grooves on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” the Village Vanguard, the White House, or Oslo’s Spektrum, where she performed at the Nobel Peace Price Concert last year at the invitation of President Obama.
With a beguiling blend of Brazilian melodies, Afro-Caribbean grooves, post-bop harmonies and lilting vocals, 25-year-old Spalding combines the imaginative flights of a serious improviser with the stage presence and musical accessibility of a pop star. Possessing a huge sound and singular sense of time, she’s already racked up an impressive array of credits, including pianist Michel Camilo, bassist Stanley Clarke, guitarist Pat Metheny, vocalist Patti Austin, and saxophonist Joe Lovano, who has built his celebrated Us Five band around the powerfully propulsive pulse of her bass. Already a heavyweight talent, Spalding is growing by leaps and bounds with a deliciously funky sound that’s both bracingly personal and embracingly accessible.
Her latest album, “Esperanza” on Heads Up, documents her rapidly maturing conception as a bandleader who’s honed a world-jazz repertoire featuring her lithe originals and standards in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Her band for this performance includes guitarist Ricardo Vogt, pianist Leo Genovese and Justin Brown on drums.
African drum and dance master Tacuma King has been an essential part of the Healdsburg Jazz Festival since its founding in 1999. A musical charmer and master educator, King possesses a gift for teaching children musical technique, song, dance and story, with an emphasis on traditional African culture, using a variety of percussion instruments. He presents a program featuring this year’s class, offering a heartening perspective on jazz’s power to engage young musicians.