Top critical review
hints of Black Gold
on February 6, 2014
Heralded for being the first time a jazz artist has been awarded a GRAMMY® for Best New Artist Radio Music Society is composed of arrangements that lean as much to pop as a genre as they do to jazz. This pop-jazz suits Esperanza Spalding’s light, airy voice.
Thematically Black Gold (with Algebra Blessett) is a most rewarding song on this album. It hints at a creative direction that would be interesting for Esperanza to delve more fully into.
Musically and vocally Cinnamon Tree is a welcome creative excursion. Crowned & Kissed has a warm easy vibe that complements its theme. The jazz of Hold On Me challenges Spalding vocally. Endangered Species [feat. Lalah Hathaway] has a wonderful rhythm arrangement. Its enjoyable to hear Esperanza reaching for and singing in her higher register on Smile Like That.