Portland’s own Esperanza Spalding has secured two coveted prizes at the 55th Annual Grammy Award ceremonies—one of which she shares with longtime local musical treasure, Thara Memory. Spalding’s fourth studio album, Radio Music Society was selected as “Best Jazz Vocal Album” Sunday night in Los Angeles. In addition a track from that album, “City of Roses,” a composition she produced with Memory, won a Grammy accolade for “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist.” Memory was also in attendance at the ceremony.
Esperanza Spalding first came to light as a teenager in a November 2001 Two Louies review by SP Clarke, wherein he praised her first band, Noise For Pretend, and made prominent note of her auspicious talent. Again in June of 2002 SP predicted that she would one day “accrue widespread recognition,” which eleven years hence seems prophetic to say the least.
These are Spalding’s second and third Grammy victories. In 2011 she won the award for “Best New Artist,” defeating Justin Bieber, among several other very noteworthy candidates. She is the only jazz artist ever to win the honor. All of this for a brilliant young woman still only twenty-eight years old, with a portentous future ahead of her! The best is yet to come for Esperanza Spalding. We are fortunate to be able to claim her as one of our own.