Esperanza Spalding’s “Chamber Music Society” tour stropped in Roanoke a few Thursday nights ago. She thrilled, amazed and transported the area’s lovers of music and live performance to places that only the greatest artists can achieve. She played to a crowd that covered a large demographic range; all ages were represented. There is good music and there is really good music. Esperanza belongs to the latter and she is rare in today’s music climate. She has been blessed with every gift: she sings like an angel, plays like a demon, composes, arranges, and has stage presence that pulls everything together like a great maestro. Imagine through some miracle of nature or science that Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, Leonard Bernstein and Yo-Yo Ma were composited into one incredible talent. Throw in the vocals of Minnie Ripperton and you have some idea of the Spalding phenomenon.
Spalding has performed at the White House, the Nobel Presentation Ceremony, The Letterman Show and on PBS’s Austin City Limits. Cities from New York to Paris to London to Cape Town are on her itinerary. It’s only natural that she would want to be at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke Va. We were very fortunate to have her in the area. Coming off her wonderful Grammy win and seeing her at what is essentially the beginning of a career is a thing to treasure. Her’s is a career that is certain to be legend. I am completely onboard for what will be a journey nothing short of incredible and a joy to follow.