It’s not every day that we get to be the first: Neil Armstrong-the first man on the moon , Junko Tabei-the first woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, and Halle Berry-the first African-American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. Then finally, nearly 100 years since jazz was born in New Orleans, the melting pot of America, a jazz artist was awarded the 2011 Grammy Award for Best New Artist. By paying homage to the traditions and legacies of jazz’s ancestors, Armstrong, Davis, Fitzgerald, Parker, and Coltrane, this artist gave our music a new direction and created an oasis for the listeners of the 21st century.
Esperanza Spalding has been filled with musical inspiration since she saw Yo-Yo Ma perform on Mister Roger’s show at age four. Her path has taken her from the Chamber Music Society of Oregon as a concertmaster and then to playing a singular bass line in blues clubs throughout Portland. Then she traveled east to attend the Berklee College of Music where she was both a student and their youngest ever faculty member and left to tour and perform with artists Patti Austin and Joe Lovano. To date Spalding has recorded four studio albums; Radio Music Society is her most current and since its release in March she has already been thinking about future projects. Join us for another ‘first’ on Monday, June 25 for Esperanza Spalding’s first performance at Ravinia Festival. Come experience the artist who has given people a new reason to love jazz music.