CD Review: “Emily’s D+Evolution” by Esperanza Spalding

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Artist : Esperanza Spalding
Album : Emily’s D+Evolution (2016 Concord)
Tracks : 12

Artist website :



Esperanza Spalding is a fantastic musician. I have been a casual fan since learning about her. She’s also a Berklee alumni like me. We also have the double bass and bass in common. We’ve probably even studied with the same people. But that is all we have in common. She is the superior musician between us. After hearing this record I’ll have to go back and listen to everything else she’s done.

I hope that Tal Wilkenfield and Esperanza would tour together with their own groups. It would be great!


This is a great album! There is a lot to listen to here stylistically. This is definitely going to be in my top list for 2016. NO QUESTION ABOUT IT! From modern to retro stylings – this record is just so good. My spirit has been lifted by the music here.

The musicianship on this record is top notch. Everything sounds very organic.



Earth to Heaven


Track 1 –  Good Lava

I love the energy in this funk rock track. There are so many different elements in this song. In places it is almost like Mr. Bungle or Primus and in some places I feel like I’m listening to something Britten would have written. Yet, there is a strong R&B presence in this track. Cool track.

Track 2 – Unconditional Love

Neat track. This song feels like it would be at home on an Alicia Keys record or even Adele record.

Track 3 – Judas

I love the bass lines here. There are two distinct interplays going on here. One is between the melody and the bass. The second is between the bass and the rest of the band. The groove is fantastic! This song even has a Joni Mitchell-esque feel that is comparable to music from “Court and Spark”.

Track 4 – Earth to Heaven

That “Court and Spark” feel continues here with a latin twist. Love it! The melody is wonderful.

Track 5 – One

I think I might be referring back to Joni Mitchell a lot during this review. This track is just so easy to listen to and smooth, almost smokey.

Track 6 – Rest in Pleasure

I like this track. I can’t really put a finger on why, but I think this is cool.

Track 7 – Ebony and Ivy

That groove! What a groove! Neat track!

Track 8 – Noble Nobles

Very dreamy. I’m floating and listening to the sonic cloud that is this song.

Track 9 – Farewell Dolly

This is a strange track. Again, I kind of get a Britten-esque vibe here.

Track 10 – Elevate or Operate

I didn’t like this one. It has a great groove and the verses are great, but the overly dissonant chorus was not to my liking since the section is too long. When something is that dissonant, it is best to not let it go on too long as it is too distracting. (To me. I don’t know about others.)

Track 11 – Funk the Fear

Hmmm … I guess this could be at home on a Primus or Mr. Bungle album. Cute track.

Track 12 – I Want It Now

This track feels like it wants to be in a Broadway show. Border-lining on art song. A very strange track.

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