Wednesday, August 25, 2010
DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
Hello, Esperanza, I am Charles L. Latimer. I am a writer, and I run this jazz blog. If you have a few minutes to spare, I want to chat with you about "Chamber Music Society". I have mixed feelings about it. I picked it up Monday after I read Dan Ouellette cover story in the current issue of Down Beat magazine. Early this year, I read a profile about you in the New Yorker. I forgot who wrote it. The New Yorker piece was better than Ouellette's cover story. His article read like a long press release. I bought “Chamber Music Society, and I had a few revelations. You are a good singer, a competent jazz bassist, and you are daring. You deserve recognition for being unconventional. Honestly, when I heard your first album, I believed Heads UP Records was trying to market you as the next Norah Jones. I guess that's okay. Your second album was a hit, and you became a sensation. I had a hard time understanding the album. I feel the same way about “Chamber Music Society. After listening to it many times, I realized you are not interested in making conventional jazz records. You take risks, but you made some mistakes. You lumped your musical influences together, so the album feels as if you set out on a journey with no destination in mind. On "Inutil Paisagem”, your humming and scatting reminded me of Bobby McFerrin voicings. There's some noteworthy material on the album. "Winter Sun" was closest you came to a straight ahead jazz track. On "Wild is the Wind", your voice melted over David Eggar's cello. The duet with Milton Nascimento on "Apple Blossom was flat. His singing sounded like Quincy Jones' speaking voice. Esperanza, you deserve brownie points for wanting to be different. So many musicians of your generation are copycats.