"She has a great time feel, she can confidently
read the most complicated compositions, and she communicates her
upbeat personality in everything she plays," says Executive Vice
President Gary Burton (Berklee) about Esperanza. "She is definitely
headed for a great career, and it will be soon." With such
acclaims and a contract with one of the finest labels in contemporary
jazz Esperanza looks into a splendid future.
The Berklee absolvent had already touring
experience with the likes of Patti Austin, Joe Lovano and Pat Metheny.
“Working with Joe was terrifying,” she recalls, “but he’s a really
generous person. I don’t know if I was ready for the gig or not, but
he had a lot of faith in me. It was an amazing learning experience.”
Esperanza's first project was Junjo, an album with Cuban
musicians Aruán Ortiz (piano) and Francisco Mela (drums).
Esperanza is 23 years young but has the knowledge
of an advanced professional. Her profession is jazz. "We need to keep
in mind that the type of music that I am trying to thrive in, that is
jazz, is no longer the popular music of the type of people it grew out
of. I mean jazz, I think in its most popular days, was the music of
young people who considered themselves awfully hip. And shoot, before
that, it was just the popular dance music. So now, unless I want to go
into hip-hop, or Neo-Soul, which is our "jazz" now as far as the role
these genres play in the music genre lineage, I have to be prepared
for the seasoned "art" community everywhere I go. It seems to me that
is what jazz is becoming. I mean anytime you can go to a school and
receive a BA or MA in some form of expression, you know it's lost it's
Her debut album on Heads Up International is called Esperanza,
that means in Spanish hope. The album is scheduled for release in May
2008. Esperanza was joined by flamenco virtuoso Niño Josele (guitar),
Jamey Haddad (percussion), Horacio "El Negro" Hernández (drums),
Donald Harrison (sax) and many more. "All of us had the same
intentions in the studio," she says. "Everybody gave really
everything we could give because you really wanted it to be the best
that could possibly be. It was like a family affair. There are things
on there that you'll dig if you're a Jazz listener and things
you'll dig if you are not a jazz listener. That's the objective - to
serve as many people as possible with the music."
The first track Ponta De Areia was written
by Brant Fernando Rocha / Milton Nascimento and became popular by
Wayne Shorter on his album Native Dancer (1974). This
Brazilian-oriented jazz-fusion masterpiece receives a new
African-Brazilian touch with African pot drums and Esperanza's lovely
vocals. Excellent Leo Genovese on piano.
I Know You Know is a love ballade
extraordinaire showcasing Esperenza's huge talent as bassist, singer
and composer. This remarkable natural born feeling for jazz as a
musical form of expression is well-developed. Fall In is
another slow ballade presenting Esperanza's heartfelt vocals with
Leo's sensible piano accompany.
Esperanza's great scat song talent shines on the Brazilian influenced
I Adore You. Jamey Haddad and Horacio "El Negro" Hernández
deliver the right Brazilian feeling. Leo Genovese's piano play is
flawless and breathtaking. Bravissimo maestro! Cuerpo Y Alma (Body
And Soul) is with more than eight minutes the longest track on
this album. It's a song written in 1930 by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour,
Frank Eyton and Johnny Green and a jazz standard covered by hundreds
of interprets. Esperanza adds her personal note by singing this tune
She Got To You is settled in the straight ahead area. A song of
a disappointed, disillusioned, deserted ex-girlfriend full of
bitterness. The song text is in strong contrast to the up-tempo melody.
Precious is a smooth, caressing melody. The same theme but
defined from another standpoint. Here is singing the self-conscious
proud young woman knowing about her importance and worth.
Mela is featuring avant-garde jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.
In 2007 Akinmusire was the winner of the Thelonious Monk International
Jazz Competition, and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet
Solo Competition, two of the most prestigious jazz competitions in the
world. Anew Esperenza shows her tremendous bass and scat singing
talent. More extravaganza in Love In Time. Esperenza sings in
the style of Sarah Vaughan.
Esperenza is the Spanish word for hope. Espera the word for
anticipation. In this song cynicism is melting with hope. A dark
outlook in the future perspectives of today's youth. If That's True
is a long straight ahead jazz session presenting all current members
of Esperenza's team in their own solos. Samba Em Preludio is
the intimate closer, a duet of Esperenza singing in Portuguese
language and flamenco virtuoso Niño Josele with his subtly textured
Friends of jazz, Brazilian music, upright bass or just intelligent
music will be impressed by this multicolored album of young genius