Elevate Or Operate
Label: Concord Records
"Emily" is Esperanza Spalding's inner spirit or id. This childlike imaginary friend and titular character of Emily's D+Evolution finds her fullest expression on "One” and "I Want It Now," the latter on which she sings, "I want a party with rooms full of laughter." Musically, comparisons to other iconoclasts like Janelle Monae and St. Vincent abound, and some will hear echoes of Joni Mitchell in her The Hissing of Summer Lawns era. But the jazz bassist’s prog-like fusion of jazz, rock and soul is her own, and yields delightful songs like "Judas," and the heavy and lumbering "Earth to Heaven." The tumbling, askew rhythm of "Elevate or Operate" spotlights her cracking band, which includes drummers Karriem Riggins and Justin Tyson, and guitarist Matthew Stevens.