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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.
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on August 25, 2017
What a musical treasure! I sure am glad CDs don't wear out like vinyl. Spalding is an incredible talent, both in virtuostic bass playing and sweet vocals.
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on August 16, 2017
Esperanza is just phenomenal!!!
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This set is fabulous -- the songs, the arrangements, the videos...wow. The music is complex and requires that you use your ears and mind, but this lady really understands swing and soul. She is brilliant, and I look forward to anything to which she turns her talent and ability.
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on February 11, 2013
I read that Esperanza won a grammy for Radio Music Society. Well deserved. She is a fantastic artist, and plays a funky bass. I like to see her standing next to the upright bass. The darn thing is bigger than she is. I have become a jazz fan again after basically letting my jazz cds collect dust. I have pulled them out of the cobwebs, and have started listening to them again, thanks to Esperanza. I forgot how great jazz sounds. Smooth and mellow. Shout out to all of the great jazz artists, Miles Davis, Grover Washington, Billy Cobham, and many many more, including my girl Esperanza. I just purchased Radio Music Society, and enjoy it very much. I purchased the Esperanza cd prior to this one. I strongly recommend this cd to all music lovers.
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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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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 February 15, 2014
Rather than rating all of her CD's, I will just say that this one is the best so far. It is interesting to watch her development as a composer/arranger, and the performances are excellent too. I can't wait for the next one.

The DVD that came with the CD is great too, not just silly like a lot of music videos. The Spanish production company did a great job, and if the next release includes videos I will be happy to get that too.

It doesn't hurt that Esperanza seems to be a good person too, not arrogant like she has a right to be.
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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 April 13, 2013
Esperanza Spalding is a talented artist! This set is a gem! The DVD is excellent. It was my first experience with the aritist, even though I was aware she is a Grammy Award Winner. I like having the DVD and accompanying CD. The music is sultry and soulful with a nice jazz flare. The story telling on the DVD is fun and covers a multitude of topics. The music is relaxing and makes you want to dance in spots as well. Great composite! The item arrived on time and was packaged nicely. If you haven't introduced yourself to this artist, do yourself a favor and take the plunge!
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