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Stand and Deliver

In today’s music world, Esperanza Spalding is an enigma. For one, the 24-year-old musical prodigy plays upright bass, quite the rarity for the male-dominated instrument. The Portland, Oregon-raised, Berklee-schooled instrumentalist/composer/vocalist also sings while playing, and who can you name that does the same? But wait, there’s more. Spalding doles out her vocal chops in three languages – English, Portuguese, and Spanish – dusting some tunes with an Erykah Badu-like timbre, others as if she was opening for Ella Fitzgerald in the 1950s. But wait, there’s seriously more. The tunes are composed, written, and arranged by the prodigy in a distinctive, traditional-vocal-jazz-meets-new-jazz style that you wouldn’t dare turn a deaf ear to.

To see why we’re fussing so hard about Spalding, check out the do-everything rising star when she performs a cabaret-style concert with a quartet that includes Leo Genovese on piano, guitarist Ricardo Vogt, and drummer Otis Brown at the newly dolled-up atrium at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Sat., Feb. 28, 8 p.m., 2009


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