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Showing 1-10 of 118 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 150 reviews
on August 10, 2012
Esperanza Spalding has been around for a while now and has developed a reputation as a fine jazz/soul singer, musician and composer, and it's certainly justified. However, her choice to produce and arrange her music is mistaken in my opinion- not even Miles Davis produced his own records! A high class producer could have done a lot more with this album. In particular, it needs editing for continuity, better style matching and polishing: there is too much variety in styles and that eclecticism doesn't quite work. Furthermore, the rationale for the order of tracks becomes puzzling at times. A professional producer may have isolated the most promising tracks: "Radio Song", "Cinnamon Tree", "City of Roses" and "Smile Like That" and built the album around the sensuous style of those numbers, which are reminiscent of "Apple Blossom", from an earlier album.

Quite a bit of the album seems to channel Stevie Wonder and it comes as no surprise that he wrote one of the tracks. There is also the hint of Jamiroquai in "Black Gold". Of course, it's true that musicians have influences, but this album is a little too obvious in touching on various established styles.

Esperanza Spalding has bundles of talent and this album is an enjoyable experience and hence highly recommended, but she needs to put the ego aside and let a top class producer/arranger take control of her recording projects to more clearly define that considerable talent.
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on November 30, 2012
Range, energy, and the bell-like voice of this young diva make for pleasurable listening whether at work or relaxing at home. I highly recommend Esperanza!
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on March 20, 2012
I've been a fan of Esperanza Spalding since seeing her on a "Performance at the White House" special. That relaxed vibe, coupled with her beautiful voice and that HAIR, caught my attention immediately. Each of her albums reflect a maturing of an artist -- not that they're necessarily "better" than the previous, it's that they are different and include a different voice each time.

After hearing "Black Gold," I have been patiently waiting for the full Radio Music Society to drop...and boy was this worth the wait. The flow, the music.....her voice -- this is pure perfection. I highly recommend buying this, grab a glass of wine, head out on your deck/patio and let the genius that is Esperanza flow out of your speakers. May she continue to be rewarded for her creativity....and may we be rewarded by enjoying and embracing her creativity.
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on April 28, 2016
I did not care for this particular cd. I adore this artist. However this cd was like listening to acid rock. Not my style of music. Very disappointed!!!
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on May 20, 2012
I am convinced she can't make a bad song. I have been following her music since the first recorded tune made its way to the internet. She has mastered the bass and her voice is clear and full. What more can you want?

In her last album "Chamber Music Society", smart jazzy-licks combine with the pomp and baroque of classical sweeping highs. It was a work of genius and she really crossed a line no one had successfully done before. She brought the most structured and rule-bound style of music that we know today and what is often considered the most loose, least-regimented and open style and made a whole album of delights.

So how does she follow? "Radio Music Society".
Modern R&B, jazz, pop, and soul all mixed into a perfect set of tracks. Did she do any insane bendings of genres here? maybe not. But the WAY she combined them was sooooooo just....sensual and sweet. The whole album honestly feels like listening to the radio with all the various tunes that seem so different but still slightly connected. The flow is beyond perfect.
I honestly have had this album playing back-to-back on a few roadtrips and every time it just feels good. Whenever I know I need to change things up, I go to this album and probably have it going in the car for two weeks (as a musician, any album lasting over 2-3 days has got to be phenomenal. I play bass, and I hate repitition when I am LISTENING to music, so it says a lot that this album stayed in the car so long every time!)

What am I telling you? buy this album. As she says in the album," this song's the one to get your spirit groovin!"
it'll get you, you're gonna get hooked
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on May 24, 2012
I first noticed Esperanza Spalding during the first broadcast of the now well-documented visit on the David Letterman show. As I flipped through channels I was surprised to detect the sincerity in his voice as he stated that Ms. Spalding was probably "the coolest guest we've had on this show." I stopped to learn of whom he was speaking and was just mesmerized from the first note to the last smile. I immediately puchased ESPERANZA and quickly followed up with JUNGA, as well as everything else she has released before or since.

This album is more akin to the lighter feel and style of her hit album ESPERANZA and less similar to her straight jazz and 'Chamber Music'/ jazz structured albums. This album is intended to reflect her more romantic (and romanticized) rhythm/ blues/ pop sensibilities rather than present her incredibly strong roots influenced music (original jazz, classical and chamber music genres.) This album helps to further her vast musical interests and influences without being a phony "covers" album or crossover recording. In addition, the self-produced music videos that she made for each song make the DELUXE EDITION an incredible offering that only heightens the wonderful musical experience.

This album, from beginning to end, is a languid respite on a breeze filled spring day. Whether on a stress-filled commute to and from work, or whether swaying in a hammock among the Spanish Moss filled southern oak trees with cardinals and mockingbirds chirping along... this album is the anecdote for all of the tensions and turmoils of modern day.

One only needs to read the other 5 star reviews to garner a sufficient understanding of the music contained within and thus the rest of this review will focus on the artist, as an understanding of Esperanza Spalding itself is an understanding of her music.

This lady is truly an artist.

Never a phony pop act who listens to musicians from favorite genres but plays songs or style(s) that are more likely to sell records (Allison Krause, Taylor Swift, Garth Brookes, Eddie Van Halen, Bayonce' Knowles, etc., etc., etc.). She plays music not as a pop princess whose main goal in life is fame and fortune, she plays music because her heart and soul are steeped into the sounds and words that emanates from the very depths of her pettite frame.

From the first moment she began playing on the Letterman show it was enjoyably obvious that she melds (almost spiritual connection) with her music and simply put, truly enjoying playing her songs. The second moment revealed that she plays from the soul with a natural style reminiscent of the old great jazz masters and is not one of the embarrassing parodies of so-called "smooth jazz" (modern jazz.)

All of her instrumentation is sensually gentle, almost never using synthesizers, overpowering bass lines or other tones that destroys modern jazz. Her lyrics are subtle and natural (never trying to be "clever" or fake) and always sung with a soulful, beautiful, heartfelt beauty that almost matches the sheer loveliness of the artist herself.

She has turned the heads of nearly all of the most notable current jazz elite as well as earned the ears of much of the worlds nobility. She earned plaudits galore as a savant during her youth, yet dismisses most of the compliments beyond the appreciation given for her music.

This artist is a true delight onstage - just as relaxed and sensual as she appeared on the Letterman show. She was just as casual and gentle during her meet and greet where in I felt compelled to share with her my opinion that she has "single handedly saved modern music."

This musical treasure - this wonderfully explosive dynamite in a beautiful, pettite figure - has already earned a place among my favorite musicians of all-time, Tommy Shaw, Heather Nova and Bill Withers.

Viva la Esperanza... the greatest hope for music in this world of lounge lizards and pop princesses.
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on March 12, 2013
Esperanza Spalding and her Radio Music Society was selected as Jazz Artist and Album of the year at 77th Annual Readers Poll of the Downbeat magazine. This is not the reason I bought this album. Before I heard her at Tokyo Jazz 2012 in the last September, I thought I had pretty much sense of what Esperanza Spalding meant to current jazz scene: In the Downbeat magazine and the Jazz Times magazine she was featured several times as the most impressive singing jazz bassist, an ambassador for improvised music with chops to match her charm. She appeared at the White House and played before President Obama. She won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 2011. However, I only recognized her as another one of new talents who wear the badge of jazz musician until I saw her live stage. I was overwhelmed by her aura with sumptuous Afro. It was like Advent of Singing Goddess who is painted on the cover of Bitches Brew by Mati Klarwein. This impression forced me to buy this album.
A lot of songs in this album deal with serious topics, but they don't feel preachy. She only shows how she feels, how she really think something sounds. The album is both a paean to radio and a call for something stronger than what real radio is feeding us. Inserted redeem card is valuable, which takes us to short films that connect throughout to the music. According to the article of Jazz Times, her life was filled with struggle. Even under severe circumstances, her mother taught her wisdom borne of relativism and respects. She raised her children with the order of the household, discussion, not denial, of her surroundings. Music in this album represents Esperanza's personal history well. She enjoys diligent cultivation in a slick, ambitious project laden with R&B with veterans like Joe Lovano, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Hart, Lionel Loueke, Lalah Hathaway and Terri Lyne Carrington. I'm very confident this album lure new audience to jazz. In this March she comes back to the stage in Tokyo. I'm expecting to seeing her live performance again.
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on February 26, 2017
Esperanza's bass playing ability highly admired by Prince, which brought me to her music. I figured he would have great judgement of new artists. I am looking forward to acquiring more of her CD's. 🎶
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on May 20, 2012
I have all of Esperanza Spalding CD's and this is by far my favorite. All of the music is outstanding with a solid contemporary jazz feel that it not like the standard offerings. The CD is worth it just for "Black Gold" and "Cinnamon Tree". Ms Spaldings' voice is surprisingly light and airy while not seeming weak or bland and her lyrics are fresh almost like a poetry reading. The CD is well worth the price.
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on April 12, 2013
I love your music, Miss Spalding! This album would be around the best and most frequently played at my home, but the sound quality is not more than MP3 and will be stacked in the back.
Your music, performance and voice are worth much, much more! My wish is:
Please, try to release this album (and comings) with a new team behind the recording and mastering! Get the guys behind Brian Bromberg's "Wood" and "Wood 2"! That would be something for all us musiclovers and audiophiles!
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