City Of Roses
Label: Heads Up
Esperanza Spalding's magnetism is blindingly radiant, the kind of thing that challenges jazz's definitions and audience limitations. After becoming the first jazz musician to snag the Best New Artist Grammy, Spalding makes Radio Music Society stride with an easy gait and balance. Beaming positivity and subtle complexity, it has enough harmonic smarts to disarm jazz traditionalists and enough neo-soul grooves to woo a crossover audience. Single "Black Gold" encapsulates everything to love about the record: While vocalist Algebra glides along overtop, Spalding and co. channel Stevie Wonder.