The Cultural Attractions Committee teamed with AC Entertainment to allow students to see jazz/fusion artist Esperanza Spalding perform at the low price of $5. Spalding will be continuing her Radio Music Society 2013 tour with a stop at the Tennessee Theatre on April 14.
“Esperanza Spalding is an artist that not many students ... have the opportunity to experience,” Brandon Darr, sophomore in an interdisciplinary program and CAC member, said.
The Portland, Ore., native will be performing songs from her latest album, "Radio Music Society," released March 2012, and other hits from her previous works. In the past, the CAC has brought a variety of performers to Knoxville. Tribute band The WannaBeatles and dance group Step Afrika! both gave performances with CAC in the past year.
“When forming our lineup, we try to pick a wide range of artists and performers,” Darr said. “CAC decided to include Esperanza Spalding in our season because of her fitting within our mission to provide cultural musical and dance performances to students at UT.”
Chris Calhoun, freshman in mechanical engineering, said he is a big fan of hip-hop music, but said he is looking forward to widening his musical preferences by attending the concert.
“When I first arrived to UT, I only listened to hip-hop, then my roommate introduced me to folk music,” Calhoun said. “College is the perfect environment for expanding my musical tastes and trying new things. I wanted to do something spontaneous and different.”
The jazz crooner plays almost all the instruments featured in her music including bass guitar, upright bass and violin. In 2011, Spalding received the Grammy for Best New Artist, being the only jazz musician to receive the award. At the 2013 Grammys, Spalding won for both Best Jazz Vocal Album and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist for her single, "City of Roses."
After performing the violin at a professional level with The Chamber Music Society of Oregon for 10 years until she was 15 years of age, Spalding left high school to study in the music program of Portland State University. The already seasoned musician had only been playing bass for a year and a half at that point.
"Most of the cats in the program had already had at least eight years of training under their belts," Spalding said in an interview on her website. "I was trying to play in these orchestras and do these Bach cello suites. It wasn’t really flying, but if nothing else, my teachers were saying, ‘Okay, she does have talent.’”
East Tennessee is known for its wealth of country and Americana music. Darr said he hopes students appreciate Spalding’s jazz and R&B sound.
“I hope that those people who are not accustomed to Ms. Spalding’s jazz music will gain an appreciation and love for her genre and for her style,” he said.
Calhoun first heard about Spalding when he heard her song on Pandora.
“I Googled her name to learn more about her and eventually ended up on the tour page. Turns out she was coming to Knoxville,” Calhoun said. “I've only ever been to hip-hop concerts like Kendrick Lamar and Yelawolf. I wanted to experience something different and more relaxing.”
Spalding’s performance will finalize the CAC’s spring semester season.
“I am most looking forward to enjoying some jazz music with a great turn out to conclude the spring semester,” Darr said. “She is a vastly talented multiple Grammy winner and no one will leave disappointed.”
Tickets for students are available at the Central Ticket Office in the UC for $5 with a student ID. General public ticket information is available at KnoxvilleTickets.com.