“OVER THE PAST 12 MONTHS, I’VE BEEN MOVING FURTHER AND FURTHER AWAY FROM A “MUSICIAN” KIND OF IDENTITY, AND FURTHER INTO A…"WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF…” IDENTITY.” Esperanza Spalding is a singer and bassist that has been changing the face of Jazz since the early aughts. Her debut Junjo topped the Contemporary Jazz charts, and a Grammy win helped her third LP Chamber Music Society into the Top 40. Her records have become increasingly ambitious, crystalizing the influence of Prog Rock, Art Rock, and the avant-garde and mixing it into uber-contemporary R&B and Jazz fusion. Harmonically and rhythmically inventive, Twelve Little Spells is a concept album about the different parts of the body, both apparent and obscure. The record has a dreamlike vibe, evoking the trippier moments in 70’s children’s television programming. (Spalding frequently states that her childhood interest in music began when she saw Yo-Yo Ma performing on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.) The variety of vocal treatments reminds of the experimentation of Laurie Anderson, but Spalding uses her voice to to unite, soothe, and tingle, rather than alienate. “Touch In Mine (Fingers)” mines Janet Jackson’s 90s ballads, “Thang” begins as a 4/4 throbber but expands in a hypnotic fashion, layered voices over gentle organ. “Now Know (Solar Portal)” is pitch-perfect vocals over groovy keys and cymbal washes. This record is packaged in a gatefold sleeve, and includes printed inserts with lyrics and full album credits.
- black double vinyl pressing
- gatefold sleeve
- digital download included
- music label: Concord Records 2018
reviewed by xxx 05/2019