Bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding has returned after a three-year hiatus swapping her jazz bass for electronic bass and exploring cosmic rock-soul.
It’s not that the multi-talented Spalding is steering away from her jazz roots but rather her latest album, ‘Emily’s D+Evolution’, explores a different aspect of her being.
Speaking to NPR about her latest album, Esperanza said: “Emily is a ‘middle me,’ that’s in there but I haven’t used her since I was young; she’s been growing as I’ve been growing. And came knocking and said, ‘Hey! There’s some stuff I need to do right now, so you need to let me out and play.
“I’m drawing on modes of expression that I haven’t explored or really focused on since I was a kid: movement with the body, acting, poetry and staging. Those were aspects of performance that I was really wild about when I was little. I feel like I’m reaching back and tapping into that dormant curiosity.”
Putting together a new band for the album, ‘Emily’s D+Evolution’, Spalding enlisted the support of drummer Karriem Riggins, who has worked with the likes of Erykah Badu and Madlib, and guitarist Matthew Stevens.
Co-produced by Spalding and Tony Visconti, of David Bowie fame, ‘Emily’s D+Evolution’ is an electrifying album exploring a new wave of rock-inspired soul with tinges of psychedelic synth.
The 11-track album brings a new energy to the musician’s repertoire of evolutionary sounds. From the slow soul-rock groove of ‘Unconditional Love’, the 4 Hero-esque ‘One’ to the heavy rock bass of ‘Good Lava’, ‘Emily’s D+Evolution’ is dazzling.
In its experimental metamorphosis, ‘Emily’s D+Evolution’ is likely to win the 4-time GRAMMY winner a whole heap of new fans and deservedly so.
Esperanza Spalding’s ‘Emily’s D+Evolution’ is out now on Concord Music Group