Esperanza Spalding

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The Portland Years

Esperanza Spalding, the jazz bassist and singer who won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best New Artist, was born in Portland. She spent her formative youth learning from local jazz legends [need references and wiki article created with internal link here]. She enrolled at Portland State University (PSU) as a music student at the age of 16, after obtaining her GED. After one year at PSU, she continued her career and studies in jazz at Berkley.

Spalding's Billboard post-Grammy interview synopsis of her musical development, mentioning briefly her childhood years in Portland.

She mentions by name Portland jazz and music teachers at the Grammys back stage.

2011 Artistic and Community Ambassador for Portland Jazz Festival

Fortuitously, Spalding was scheduled to return to Portland as an Artistic and Community Ambassador for the Portland Jazz Festival [need references and wiki article created with internal link here] the week following the award. This "Think Out Loud" Oregon Public Broadcasting October, 2010, show features an interview with her discussing her appointment, her process, and the future of jazz.[1]

In her ambassador roll, she made a number of appearances including a reception at City Hall, working with jazz students at PSU, and performing at the Newmark Theater.

Spalding spoke of her PSU experience, saying, "Before I came to PSU, it was just fun. It wasn't until I got here that I began to really understand. It made the lifestyle of a jazz musician real to me." [2] Oregon Music News provides a personal and insightful interview with Spalding February 24 Brunish Hall in the Portland Center for Performing Arts during the 2011 jazz festival.[3]

Stills of Spalding in performance at the Newmark.

Portland Jazz Festival 2011: Esperanza Spalding at the Newmark Theater on 2/25/11


  1. Think Out Loud: Esperanza Spalding
  2. Esperanza Spalding: Grammy winner comes back to PSU
  3. Portland Jazz Festival 2011: Esperanza Spalding – Jazz Conversation – OMN podcast

External Links