Berks Jazz Fest 2013: Esperanza Spalding

Tuesday evening, we got the opportunity to witness two times Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding on bass and vocals at the Scottish Rite Cathedral doing her Radio Music Society show, she appeared with her band (keyboards, guitar and drums) plus a mini big band consisting of seven reed players, one of them doubling on vocals, plus a dedicated singer. Esperanza Spalding is not only a great bassist - acoustic and electric - but also a gifted vocalist and a beauty to look at. She was extensively talking between songs sharing her views on various things, their talks were segueing into the next song, each time featuring her on bass and vocals, with several horn solos thrown in for good measure. Her horn players were an integral part of her music, we got lots of great trombone, alto and tenor sax playing, plus the occasional keyboard and guitar solo. Her music has a certain quirkiness and is therefore a bit of an acquired taste, but is at the same time innovative and intriguing, thus providing excellent entertainment. Her show lasted two hours which flew by, they finished with the title track of their current release, which had the audience sing along. The encore was just a duet done by her female singer and her on bass and vocals, which brought things nicely to an end.