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Junjo

4.5 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 18, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This is it, the CD that launched the recording career of the now Grammy Award winning artist Esperanza Spalding. When released this project immediately grabbed the attention of fans and critics as an amazing release from a new leader in Jazz. Winning BEST NEW ARTIST at 53rd Annual Grammy Awards introduced her to a global audience, but Junjo was the foundation. JUNJO, the first musical production under the direction of this American artist, Esperanza gives her touches to pieces that range from the modern jazz trio to contemporary Brazilian music, to Argentine folk music. For her, this project is a dream come true. It is as a same time, her first CD as well as the first production under her direction. The trio is completed with the artistry of two excellent musicians, pianist Aruán Ortiz and drummer Francisco Mela. JUNJO has Esperanza s personal seal: the superb sense of time that she possesses and always succeeds in communicating to her audiences, and her great devotion to the instrument she plays.

Amazon.com

Junjo boasts an unusual format: A young American woman playing bass and singing wordless vocals with the accompaniment of a Cuban pianist and drummer. But 22-year-old Esperanza Spalding, an Oregon native who teaches at Boston's Berklee College of Music, is so confident in her multiple roles (she also produced the album, released on a Spanish label) and the music goes down so easily, all awareness of her band's makeup quickly fades. With their lighter-than-air quality, the tunes sometimes recall early Return to Forever (an association underlined by the inclusion of a Chick Corea composition) and her playing boasts the warm, richly amplified quality favored by many young bassists. But with pianist Aruan Ortiz stretching and shaping the melodies, Junjo is winningly personal. In addition to several originals by Spalding, alone or in collaboration with Ortiz or her drummer, Francisco Mela, it includes a smart and playful reworking of Jimmy Rowles' classic, "The Peacocks." --Lloyd Sachs
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 18, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ayva Musica
  • ASIN: B000F0H4R2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,506 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Charlie Bass on December 31, 2008
Format: Audio CD
A true dichotomy: Some of the best smooth, tough, calming and energizing music that speaks to my heart, mind and body. Esperanza is a true gift to all who enjoy jazz. In fact, she will appeal to those who don't often listen to jazz, but who love good music.
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I had been told about this young lady approximately 6-8 months before I actually listened to her CD. When I heard her I could not believe it! She is absolutely incredible in her playing and singing for her age and the type of music (jazz) she sings! I bought this CD and her latest CD, "Esperanza" and I simply fell in love with her. When you hear her sing and play it's hard to believe you're listening to someone as young as she is. It hard to imagine what levels she will achieve if her beginning is any indication. I look forward to whatever she puts out in the future. She will definitely become one of my favorite artists!
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For me, Esperanza Spalding's debut album was pure listening joy. This is a jazz in its purest, undiluted sense. Not only does Spalding play the bass well, she's a great singer as well. Spalding scats on many of the songs (except when she sings the "Cantora de Yala", which is a Argentinian folk song that she sings in Spanish). She's has such a sweet pleasant voice -- one can only hope that she'll sing even more in the future. The song sounds a lot like Brazilian sambas/bossa novas (which I love listening too). She does it all so well too. Spalding also reworks some classic jazz pieces like "Humpty Dumpty" and "The Peacocks".

To me, the title track "Junjo" sums up Spalding's style -- which is playful, savvy, sophisticated, feminine and joyful. But there are many moods expressed throughout the album -- I guess it depends on the listener what they will get from each abstract song.

This album has been on constant repeat on my cd player and IPOD for the past month, that's how much I enjoy it. Right now, I hope to listen to more of her albums in the future -- but I"m enjoying this one so much, it's going to be a little while.

ETA: Her bass solo (the arrangement and her playing) on "Mompouana" is just so wonderful and cool, it almost had me literally tears. Just brilliant.
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I was really hoping to love this album but I couldn't really get into it. Esperanza is an interesting artist - brilliant player and singer but musically still hasn't quite found her place (and this album is a reflection of that). She's young so maybe as she matures and does more experimentation she'll fall into something that works for her and her audiences.
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By Ben on October 27, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I like Esperanza in this joyful debut. Her emotional, wordless vocals with her bass playing interprets traditional jazz favorites and new compositions to a greater heights. Accompanying her on this jazzy journey are Aruán Ortiz and Francisco Mela, pianist and drummer from Cuba.

One of the many highlights are the trio's take on Chick Corea's "Humpty Dumpty". I hope this chanteuse will be keeping on releasing albums. Jazz should be enjoyed and introduced to a much bigger audience. An album for relaxing times.
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If you are buying this album because you love Jazz and want to hear the early sounds of it's newest star, you should love this album. If you are buying this album because you want to hear the woman who beat out Justin Beiber for best new artist in 2011, I recommend you try her more commercially accessible releases Esperanza-2008 and Chamber Music Society-2010. All three are great albums, but this first one is a bit different.

Junjo- from 2006 is the first studio release of Esperanza Spalding, one of the most refreshing new artists in Jazz today. It is an instrumental Jazz album that features Ms. Spalding at her rawest, showing us her chops on the bass, and with her voice scatting through a few of the arrangements. Along with Aruan Ortiz on piano and Francisco Mela on drums this trio works its way through a mix of original and traditional material ranging in sound from more traditional sounding American Jazz (not that smooth jazz crap either) to material with a more Latin and South American flavor. 5 of the 9 songs were written by members of the trio. Other songs include Humptyu Dumpty by Chick Corea and Peacocks by Jimmy Rowles. The only true vocal on the album is on track #8 Cantora De Yala which is very melodic right up to the vocals which are sung in Portuguese ( I believe that is the national the language of Brazil) of which Esperanza is fluent in. Each track on this disc shows a talented young jazz trio showing they are capable of playing with the best of them.

This is a very wonderful first effort and it shows the world what becomes apparent in her later releases and performances. Ms Spalding is not just a young talented vocalist, she is a bonafide artist, and a monster bass player. I look forward to listening to this young woman's releases for many years to come.
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A very good starightforward album of postbop trio jazz. Spalding and her bandmates are all talented, communicate well, and never overplay. In addition, I like the Brazilian flavor that Ms. Spalding's vocalese imparts. I took a star off because while it's very tasty stuff, it isn't particularly innovative --- it could have been released any time over the last 40 years. But that's not a sin. A 4-star album is still superb in my book, and I'll be listening to it a lot.
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