Esperanza Spalding: Radio Music Society CD/DVD Edition 2012 16:9 DTS 5.1

Deluxe CD/DVD edition includes bonus DVD. 2012 release from the Grammy-winning Jazz bassist/vocalist. Radio Music Society is a companion, rather than a sequel, to Spalding's previous disc, Chamber Music Society, which reached #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. Among its many strengths, Radio Music Society is a celebration of the men and women who have helped cultivate Spalding's talent, as well as those who have nurtured her vision and inspired her along the way.

 In addition to longtime partners Lovano, keyboard player Leo Genovese and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, the ranks contain Jazz legends Jack DeJohnette and Billy Hart; guitar heroes Jef Lee Johnson and Lionel Loueke; an array of master vocalists including Algebra Blessett, Lalah Hathaway, Gretchen Parlato, Leni Stern and Becca Stevens; hip-hop giant Q-Tip (who performs on and co-produced two tracks); and two Portland-based musicians, Janice Scroggins and Dr. Thara Memory, who provided essential mentorship in Spalding's youth. 

Track Listing

    Track # Title
1.   1 Radio Song
1.   2 Cinnamon Tree
1.   3 Crowned & Kissed
1.   4 Land of the Free
1.   5 Black Gold (Featuring Algebra Blessett and Lionel Loueke)
1.   6 I Can't Help It (Featuring Joe Lovano)
1.   7 Hold on Me
1.   8 Vague Suspicions
1.   9 Endangered Species (Featuring Lalah Hathaway)
1.   10 Let Her
1.   11 City of Roses (Featuring Q Tip)
1.   12 Smile Like That
2.   1 Radio Song
2.   2 Cinnamon Tree
2.   3 Crowned & Kissed
2.   4 Land of the Free
2.   5 Black Gold
2.   6 I Can't Help It
2.   7 Hold on Me
2.   8 Vague Suspicions
2.   9 Endangered Species
2.   10 Let Her
2.   11 City of Roses
2.   12 Smile Like That

 Product Reviews

Esperanza Spalding's fourth album, Radio Music Society (a companion piece to Chamber Music Society in name only) is one of enormous ambition -- polished production, sophisticated, busy charts, and classy songwriting -- that consciously juxtaposes neo-soul and adult-oriented jazz-tinged pop. It employs a stellar cast, largely of jazz musicians, to pull it off. She produced the set, with help from Q-Tip on a couple of numbers, and wrote all but two songs here: a cover of "I Can't Help It" (a Michael Jackson cover written by Stevie Wonder) and Wayne Shorter's "Endangered Species." There are truckloads of players, including three different all-star drummers in Terri Lyne Carrington, Jack DeJohnette, and Billy Hart, saxophonist Joe Lovano, and guitarists Jef Lee Johnson and Lionel Loueke on "Black Gold" (which also contains his vocals and an appearance by the Savannah Children's Choir). Though Ms. Spalding takes most lead vocals, there are also duet appearances from Lalah Hathaway and Algebra Blessett. Backing vocalists include Gretchen Parlato (who also anchors a chorus on several tunes) and Leni Stern. The American Music Program horn section appears on three cuts. The highlights here include "Crowned & Kissed" (a Q-Tip co-production) with its rubbery bassline, contrapuntal horns, Leo Genovese's artful pianism, and Carrington's impeccable sense of swing that bridges funk, neo-soul, jazz, and hip-hop. "Radio Song" contains layered interpolated rhythms (again courtesy of Carrington), sparkling Rhodes piano, syncopated horns and backing chorus, Spalding's alto croon, and a taut, popping bassline. Lovano's saxophone adds a truly elegant and graceful dimension to "I Can't Help It." The charts on Shorter's tune (with lyrics by Spalding) illuminate what may have been the composer's intent all along -- and nod at Pastorius-era Weather Report simultaneously. DeJohnette's funky subtlety drives the knotty fingerpop of "Let Her," and Hart's trademark, shimmering cymbal work on "Hold on Me" complements Spalding's sultry vocal in retro bluesy pop -- it's one of only a couple of places on the record where she plays acoustic bass. While Radio Music Society may play better to younger pop audiences than more die-hard jazzheads, this program is so diverse and well executed -- despite a little overreaching -- it's anybody's guess. [The CD/DVD edition of Radio Music Society contains an hour-plus presentation that features videos of virtually all of the album's tracks in a cinematic medley, as well as bonus material including a 16-minute documentary.] ~ Thom Jurek, Roviperperranza S


Esperanza Spalding
Radio Music Society
20 March 2012
INCL. DVD/DELUXE ED. ~ Discs:2 ~ Country:USA
Umgd/Heads Up International ( HEA )
Compact Disc DVD Bonus 



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