tue 23/07/2019

CD: Esperanza Spalding – 12 Little Spells | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Esperanza Spalding – 12 Little Spells

CD: Esperanza Spalding – 12 Little Spells

Jazz for the body and soul

Esperanza Spalding: spellbinding

Singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding originally released 12 Little Spells last year as a dozen separate tracks, each with its own video. This new expanded edition is available on physical formats and download, with four new tracks as bonus extras.

The Grammy-winning artist wrote the first batch of material while on a writing retreat at a castle in Italy, and the music is an embodiment of harmony and the healing powers of art. Both grown-up and youthful, smooth yet fun, it's an ultimate feelgood experience for those who enjoy a beautifully-crafted fusion of jazz, soul, and R’n’B.

Spalding is no stranger to concept albums, as she demonstrated in excellent previous work such as 2017’s Emily’s D+Evolution, which portrayed a fictional character and her world. 12 Little Spells takes further steps in that direction and is an intricate and poetic exploration of the physical body that enables us to live and feel. Each of the tracks on the album is a close-up of the relationship between sensation, emotion, and physicality.

Every piece is distinct and memorable, yet all are linked by an underlying positivity, culminating in “Thang (hips)” and “You Have to Dance (feet)”. At the same time, Esperanza does not shy away from complexity: “The Longing Deep Down (abdominal portal)” reminds us that “It is fucking hard to be longing and at the same time feel your own belonging”, while the song “With Others (ears)” echoes social concerns by asking “Where do I fit in your power trip?”

The 12 tracks (or "spells"), now joined by the four bonus pieces, act as meditation and leave the listener more able to value and embrace the comfort and possibilities of their own body. The album's original 12 videos, directed by Ethan Samuel Young, are available on YouTube, and visually complement the dreamy and inventive sound of the album. 12 Little Spells delivers an anatomy of perfection and demonstrates how Spalding has reached a new level in her artistic career.

Every piece is distinct and memorable, yet all are linked by an underlying positivity

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Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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