Monday, May 18, 2009
It's a New Day
I caught Esperanza Spalding at The Folly Theater Saturday night. I more or less concur with the guy who wrote this rave review of the concert.
Spalding, 24, served notice that the game has changed.
With breathtaking versatility- the performance included straight-ahead jazz, crossover pop, fusion, avant-garde edginess and forays into the sounds of Brazil and Argentina- Spalding demonstrated that a jazz-based musician can engage a diverse audience if he or she displays enthusiasm, charisma, and most importantly, immeasurable talent.
Musicians in Kansas City's jazz community need to step up or be left behind. There's no shortage of local talent or innovation- but the ability to combine those elements into a forward-thinking concept is largely absent.
The sixty-plus set that has propped up the local scene for decades won't be around much longer. Only a handful of jazz hermeticists, Plastic Sax among them, will be eager to consume the music in its purest forms in ten years.
Spalding understands that she's competing directly against Bjork, Ben Harper, Alicia Keys and Radiohead. She accepts that challenge without compromising her art.
Spalding proved Saturday that it's possible to blaze a new trail in which jazz might find an artistically and commercially bright future. Are you going with her?
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)