August 23, 2019

Winnipeg
14° C, Clear

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Alter-ego takes over for Esperanza Spalding during theatrical Jazz Fest performance

Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at Jazz Fest June 21, 2015
Photos by: John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday. - (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/6/2015 (1523 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It's tough to accurately describe to you what happened in a rather smoky Burton Cummings Theatre for the closing show of Jazz Fest Sunday night. What was made apparent immediately was Grammy-award winner Esperanza Spalding as we know her would not be performing. Instead, her alter-ego Emily took centre stage to offer up something a little different.

A hunched over Emily/Spalding made her way slowly onto a dark stage, her bright orange sneakers the only thing guiding her way. Opening things with Good Lava, Spalding was only just preparing the crowd for what was to come — an electric set full of theatrics.

Spalding has said she wanted the Emily D + Evolution tour to nearly fall into the realm of performance art, and if that’s the case, she definitely achieved it. Taking a break between songs to award herself and her backup singers some diplomas, donning a floral headpiece and jumping behind the bar (piano) to serve drinks, the theatrics and poetry of her performance were effective in creating that performance-art ambiance. Each section like a little vignette taking on a different tone that took its cue from the song she injected into it.

The music performed as Emily is notably more harsh than Spalding’s past work; it’s buzzing and loud and rough around the edges, but showcases her voice just as well. Even as Emily, the jazziness of her voice peeked through — her control as she hopped from her lower range into falsetto is a skill that cannot go unnoticed. During times when the storyline became pretty murky, Spalding’s rounded and powerful voice made everything make sense.

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/6/2015 (1523 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It's tough to accurately describe to you what happened in a rather smoky Burton Cummings Theatre for the closing show of Jazz Fest Sunday night. What was made apparent immediately was Grammy-award winner Esperanza Spalding as we know her would not be performing. Instead, her alter-ego Emily took centre stage to offer up something a little different.

A hunched over Emily/Spalding made her way slowly onto a dark stage, her bright orange sneakers the only thing guiding her way. Opening things with Good Lava, Spalding was only just preparing the crowd for what was to come — an electric set full of theatrics.

Spalding has said she wanted the Emily D + Evolution tour to nearly fall into the realm of performance art, and if that’s the case, she definitely achieved it. Taking a break between songs to award herself and her backup singers some diplomas, donning a floral headpiece and jumping behind the bar (piano) to serve drinks, the theatrics and poetry of her performance were effective in creating that performance-art ambiance. Each section like a little vignette taking on a different tone that took its cue from the song she injected into it.

The music performed as Emily is notably more harsh than Spalding’s past work; it’s buzzing and loud and rough around the edges, but showcases her voice just as well. Even as Emily, the jazziness of her voice peeked through — her control as she hopped from her lower range into falsetto is a skill that cannot go unnoticed. During times when the storyline became pretty murky, Spalding’s rounded and powerful voice made everything make sense.

There is something inherently cool about an amazing lady bassist and Spalding is no exception. Show antics aside, she is sneakily unassuming about how good she is. She plays incredibly intricate bass lines like it’s just a walk in the park — rocking out an especially impressive solos in Funk the Fear and breathtaking show-closer Unconditional Love. When things look too easy, that’s when you know they aren’t.

Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Esperanza Spalding performs at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg Sunday.

Things got a little weird at times (including a pretty, smooth jam titled Judas, about who else but the ultimate betrayer), but Spalding’s talent seemed to transcend it all. She’s sassy and commands the stage in a way only a seasoned performer can do. She’s confident in her work regardless of performing entirely new material — a terrifying thing for any artist to do.

The crowd seemed more than OK with it though, awarding Spalding’s performance a standing ovation, making it clear Emily is welcome back to Winnipeg anytime.

Rayannah keeps audience in the loop

Loop-pedal extraordinaire Rayannah kicked off the night with a set that proved to be the best possible example of where modern jazz can go. Technology was at the forefront — her layers upon layers of vocals looped and repeated created dense yet uncluttered songs — but the classic jazz techniques of scatting and improvisation were not far behind.

It takes an incredible amount of confidence to use that much looping live — each note must be in exactly the right spot (tonally and timing-wise) in order for each layer to be added successfully. Rayannah powered through her set masterfully; she was focused and precise. A few notes were off here and there, most notably in her upper register, which at times felt quite forced, but that’s easy to overlook knowing how much pressure that one voice is under. Especially moving was her final piece, Tempête, a crisp and twinkling tune that ended her set on a literal and figurative high note.

 

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @Nirerabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us