by Dan Bloom, producer
Esperanza Spalding is one of the most compelling musicians working today, and her new album “Chamber Music Society,” is a powerful work of art. She’s played at the White House a few times, and played for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies in Oslo. A touring musician with a hot album, she’s succeeding as a professional, but she didn’t get there alone. She credits her mother as a large influence, and Mr. (Fred) Rogers, on whose television show she first laid eyes on the upright bass, her axe of choice. However, there is one influence on her music that’s been largely unknown to the public until now.
Spalding titled her album “Chamber Music Society,” and as it reflects her interest in composing for instruments in the classical idiom, it’s also an homage to the pair of women who ran the “Chamber Music Society” for youth in Portland, Oregon, her hometown. Spalding never had the chance to thank Hazel DeLorenzo and Dorothy McCormick before they passed away, and she regrets it to this day. She advises us all to be grateful to those around us while we have the chance.
Anyone with the good fortune to see her perform will surely be grateful, and she has a number of tour dates coming up. Here are a few of them.
9/29 Pittsburgh, Byham Theater
9/30 New York, NYU Skirball Center
10/2 Cambridge MA, Harvard Sanders Theater
10/3 Washington DC, Lincoln Theater