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  • Cy White

Esperanza Spalding - Songwrights Apothecary Lab

Is there even a question why Esperanza Spalding is on my list? Every single year I search for her music first to make sure I'm not missing any of her elegance. She's just an astonishing musician with a spirit and heart for music that suffuses her entire existence.

With the collaborative narrative of Songwrights Apothecary Lab, Spalding cements herself as an experimental genius, music that has a life and breath and existence beyond what even her mind can imagine.

This is jazz at its foundations. Whimsy, imagination, open, breath. It's the type of music that pushes jazz to its limits and beyond, giving it air to push and pull your notions of what it means to make music from the soul and outward. Her voice, ever impish and featherlike, is an anchor that moors the wanderings of her imagination to something more concrete. This music is alive. It is nature and calls to the thunderstorm within each and every one of us. To heal, water, grow, rage, howl and love in all our primal glory.

Songwrights Apothecary Lab is what collaboration is made for. Various voices and souls transmitting their heart's truth. Blending, coalescing into a whole. Colors and aural delights that caress and envelope you.

For many, this type of jazz is a little too groovy. Too based in the playground of the mind. But I posit, what if this touches too close to the core? What if the discomfort comes in the fact that the chaos that you perceive is the madness that is humanity, utterly and truthfully and completely human? That's what Esperanza Spalding brings to the table. What each musician on this project brings to the table. Absolute and unfiltered humanity.

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