A classically-trained bassist, Esperanza Spalding made her jazz debut in 2008 and quickly gained followers with high-profile appearances at the White House and at the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and concert. Jeffrey Brown sat down with her recently at the Lincoln Theater in Washington, D.C., to talk about her new album, “Chamber Music Society,” which draws on both her jazz and conservatory roots and showcases her singing, composition and bass playing.
“I don’t think jazz should be a museum piece,” Spalding told Brown. “There must be room and openness of listeners and audiences and people who support funding and educators to allow young musicians to really explore and even temporarily or leave permanently a sound or a style or a shape from previous decades. It’s ok to do that. It’s really healthy for the music.”
One of Spalding’s signature pieces is “Little Fly,” set to a poem by William Blake:
AFTER THE JUMP: Spalding describes the inspiration to “Little Fly”: