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ACL Interview: Esperanza Spalding

Friday, 3:30pm, Barton Springs stage

By Chase Hoffberger, Fri., Oct. 12, 2012

ACL Interview: Esperanza Spalding

Austin's musical mojo permeates throughout the bulk of bassist Esperanza Spalding's two most recent works, 2010's Chamber Music Society and March's Radio Music Society. It was at the piano in her Travis Heights home that the 2009 transplant wrote both albums.

"I feel very comfortable there," reveals the 27-year-old Portland, Ore., native from the road. "I like walking out of my house and going to the park. You can get groceries easily. The whole vibe. I felt I could do good work there."

Spalding's work, a dynamic and fresh take on bass and voice that's pushing jazz into the next generation, has largely kept her out of the capital city. Yet with her fourth LP, Radio Music Society, the Berklee-educated Spalding, who took home the 2011 Grammy for Best New Artist, cut a disc that gives jazz an accessible face, reeling in such eclectic voices as hip-hop rapper/producer Q-Tip.

"The music I'm most aware of comes from jazz, so I've used that, but I've incorporated music and players I think are really enjoyable and fun to share.

"That's all mixed up into this cake, but you don't have to know what's in it. You just have to know if you like it. Once you know, we can talk about the flavors. You can say, 'What did you put in this?' And I can say, 'It's this.' Then you can go and use it in your cooking.

"I want to expose more people to this spice, so I've wrapped it in this great big cake."

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