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Esperanza Spalding

Radio Music Society

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5 2.5 0
March 20, 2012

Like Pam Grier with a stand-up bass in place of a sawed-off shotgun, this jazz fusionista earned the baff led admiration of millions when she snatched the 2011 Best New Artist Grammy away from Justin Bieber. A dazzling player skilled at butterfly-zoo arrangements, the 27-year-old steps toward pop here, echoing Stevie Wonder and Aja-era Steely Dan. Despite a charmingly lithe voice, her song writing has a way to go; high points are covers (Wonder’s "I Can’t Help It") and some groove enhanced Q-Tip co-productions. Someone call Questlove: Those 'fros could make magic together.

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Photos: Random Notes

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