Centuries ago, chamber music was the music for the masses -- the music in which people from nearly every segment of society could find meaning and relevance. A decade into the 21st century, Esperanza Spalding -- the bassist, vocalist and composer who first appeared on the jazz scene in 2008 -- takes a contemporary approach to this once universal form of entertainment with "Chamber Music Society." Backed by drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and pianist Leo Genovese, Esperanza creates a modern chamber music group that combines the spontaneity and intrigue of improvisation with sweet and angular string trio arrangements. The result is a sound that weaves the innovative elements of jazz, folk and world music into the enduring foundations of classical music.
The 2011 NEA Jazz Masters Marsalis Family gathered together last June at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., for a very special evening of celebration, appreciation, and performance as patriarch Ellis Marsalis received the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award. The concert featured performances from sons Branford on sax, Wynton on trumpet, Delfeayo on trombone, Jason on drums, poet Ellis III, and special guest, family friend Harry Connick Jr. The release of "Music Redeems" coincides with the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and proceeds from sales of the disc will benefit educational programming at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, the heart of the New Orleans Habitat Musicians' Village.
Also out with new music: Freddy Cole celebrates the life and music of his friend and mentor, Billy Eckstine, with "Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B"; contemporary jazz keyboardist Tom Grant unveils his latest, "Delicioso"; and composer and bandleader Chie Imaizumi's "A Time of New Beginnings" features an all-star band including Randy Brecker, Jeff Hamilton, John Clayton, Gary Smulyan, and Terell Stafford.