Esperanza Spalding is at the top of her field. She’s won just about every award a musician can win: four Grammys, a Smithsonian award, an NAACP Image Award, a Frida Kahlo award, a Boston Music Award — we could go on for ten minutes. And now, according to a press release from Harvard University, Spalding is going to teach others how she did it.
The bassist and singer has been appointed the a professor of the practice in the university’s Department of Music. The university’s professors of the practice are individuals “who have a national or international reputation as leaders” and who are “the best in the field.” That certainly sounds like Spalding. The press release refers to the artist as “a national treasure with global resonance” who “stands apart for the intelligence and deep sense of humanity” found in her work.
This won’t be Spalding’s first time in front of students, either. She taught at Boston’s Berklee College of Music from 2005 to 2008, and has instructed many pupils as an artist in residence in the years since. At Harvard, Spalding will lead courses in songwriting, improvisation and performance. The school also promises that Spalding will bring her “commitment to music as a voice for social justice” to the classroom with her.
The boys of “Moonlight” will be getting their moment.
Both 13-year-old Alex Hibbert and 12-year-old Jaden Piner, are slated to receive keys to the city of Miami Gardens, FL at this year’s Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival. The two students from Norland Middle School in Miami Gardens had starring roles in the Oscar-winning film “Moonlight,” with Alex playing young Chiron and Jaden playing Kevin, Chiron’s best friend.
“We think it’s a great opportunity for us to acknowledge what they’ve done at a young age, and tell them how proud we are of them,” shares Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III. “Because so often when you hear about young black kids, people don’t want to tell you the stories of these kids and areas that they excel in,” continues Mayor Gilbert. “We aren’t talking about them most times. Most times we’re talking about young black boys in a negative context, so anytime we get an opportunity to tell them how extraordinary they are, we will do it. And ‘Jazz In The Gardens’ is the biggest stage that we can offer in the city.”
The key ceremony will be just one highlight of the highly-anticipated weekend. As the staple event each year in the city of Miami Gardens, Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival is back for its 12th year, and is quickly growing beyond its borders. Hosted again by veteran comedian Rickey Smiley, the city can expect more than 70,000 music lovers from all over the United States and Caribbean Islands.
The festival will take place this upcoming weekend, March 17-19 at Hard Rock Stadium, featuring performances by Jill Scott, Esperanza Spalding, Common, and LLCoolJ.
Usher may be the reigning King of R&B, but, right now, we’re pretty sure he’s feeling like the King of the World.”
The soulful singer spent October 14, his 37th birthday, recording a taping of PBS’ concert series “In Performance at the White House.” He and his bride Grace were chatting with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama when they surprised him by singing “Happy Birthday” and presented him with a cupcake topped with a single candle.
The former “The Voice” coach seemed humbled — and in total disbelief — by the experience, at one point, turning to the videographer and asking, “Are you getting this?
After the First Couple were done singing to Usher, President Obama said, “That’s a good cupcake, too.”
Along with Usher, Queen Latifah, Smokey Robinson, and Esperanza Spalding also performed at the White House for the concert series.
The standard lineon Wayne Shorter is that he’s the greatest living composer in jazz, and one of its greatest saxophonists. He would like you to forget all of that. Not the music, or his relationship to it, but rather the whole notion of pre-eminence, with its granite countenance and fixed coordinates. “We have to beware the trapdoors of the self,” he said recently.
“You think you’re the only one that has a mission,” he went on, “and your mission is so unique, and you expound this missionary process over and over again with something you call a vocabulary, which in itself becomes old and decrepit.” He laughed sharply.
Mr. Shorter will turn 80 this year. Decrepitude hasn’t had a chance to catch up to him. Last week he appeared at Carnegie Hall as a featured guest with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, which played several of his compositions. On Tuesday “Without a Net,” easily the year’s most-anticipated jazz album, will become his first release on Blue Note in more than four decades. And next Saturday he’ll be at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the premiere of “Gaia,” which he wrote as a showcase for the bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding.
Bassist Esperanza Spalding is still wooing crowds with her peculiar style of music; blending jazz, R&B, and classical for one phenomenal sound.
She was awarded for her groundbreaking compositions at the first annual Smithsonian Magazine American Ingenuity Awards. Artists in all categories, including technology, performing and visual arts, natural and physical sciences, education, historical scholarship, social progress and youth achievement were also recognized at a gala event at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. on November 28.
Herbie Hancock presented the award to Spalding, and said, “She is magnificent and poetic.”
Since stepping out onto the scene, Spalding has created a genre all her own, fascinating millions and winning over audiences with all types of musical interests. She’s been recently dubbed the “First Lady of Jazz,” and has played with Stevie Wonder for President Barack Obama.