Top positive review
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A possible successor to Cassandra Wilson
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.