ACT Reading Dec. 2015 72E - Passage III

Questions 21-30 are based on the following passage.

HUMANfflES: This passage is adapted from the article New Note: Esperanza Spalding's Music" by John Colapinto (©2010 by Cond6 Nast).

In 2008, the prodigiously gifted bassist, singer,

and composer Esperanza Spalding released her major­-

label debut, Esperanza, which she recorded as a

twenty-three-year-old instructor at the Berklee College
5 of Music, in Boston. While the music was indisputably

jazz, it suggested an almost bewildering array of influ­-

ences-fusion, funk, soul, rhythm and blues, Brazilian

samba and Cuban son, pop balladry, chanted vocalese­--

with lyrics sung in Spalding's three languages: English,
10 Portuguese, and Spanish. An ebullient mash-up of

sounds, styles, and tongues, the record seemed like

something new-jazz for the iPod age-and it rose

quickly to No. 3 on the Billboard jazz chart, and stayed

on the chart for sixty-two weeks. The freshness and the
15 excitement of her approach have led, inevitably, to her

being called the "new hope for jazz."

Spalding, born in 1984 in Portland, Oregon, to a

single mother of African American, Asian, Native

American, and Hispanic heritage, belongs to a growing
20 movement of young musicians who have taken a less

traditional approach to the music. For years, young jazz

musicians adopted a near slavish devotion to sounding

like players from jazz's golden age (anywhere between

the nineteen-twenties and the arrival of the Beatles in
25 America, in 1964), rejecting the pop, rock, and fusion

experimentation that came in the nineteen-seventies

and eighties. The members of the Young Lions move­-

ment, with Wynton Marsalis the most visible among

them, fetishized staunchly noncommercial "pure" jazz.

30 Attendance at jazz concerts bas been declining for

years; a hit jan album today might sell forty thousand

copies worldwide. Esperanza has so far sold more than

a hundred thousand. This is, in part, because Spalding

hews closer to dance rhythms than many of her contem-
35 poraries do. (Jazz has become increasingly compli-

cated, piling on odd meters and abstruse melodies.) It is

also because she sings; for audiences put off by the

cerebral rigors of instrumental improvisation, her pliant

also voice gives them something to hang on to. But her
40 original songs sacrifice none of the melodic sophistica­-

tion and harmonic interest of jazz; and she is as techni-

cally adept, and as serious a student of the music's

history, as the most dutiful of the Young Lions.

Spalding is passionate about bringing fresh influ-
45 ences, voices. and idioms to the music. to prevent jazz

from becoming merely "a museum piece," as she put it.

In the course of a year, she plays a hundred and fifty

concert dates around the world. In 2009, she played at

the Nohel Peace Prize ceremony, in Oslo, Norway. The
50 schedule sharply limits the time she bas for writing new

material and practicing. She moved to Texas last fall in

part because it offers seclusion for working and writing.

In mid-January. Spalding spent a few days in a

state-of-the-art recording facility in New Jersey, over-
55 seeing the recording of the string arrangements for her

new album, Chamber Music Society. Present at the ses­-

sions was Gil Goldstein, a jazz accordion player and

Grammy-winning arranger and producer. Hired as an

arranger for the project, Goldstein had tweaked
60 Spalding's string parts for the number "Apple Blos-

som." Although the two had worked smoothly through

most of the session, Spalding balked at the changes to

the song.

"Your string parts are too busy," Spalding told
65 him, as they sat on a sofa in the studio's control room.

"Busy?"Goldstein echoed, laughing. "No way!"

"It's so delicate--[ don't want it to get too'dense."

Spalding insisted on reverting to her earlier, sim-

pler arrangement. Goldstein assented, then went into
70 the soundproofed studio and began conducting the trio

of violin, cello, and viola. But Spalding was not hearing

what she wanted. She took the baton from Goldstein,

who surrendered it without complaint. (He later told me

that he likes it when a musician knows what he or she
75 wants, and that it makes for a better recording.) She put

on headphones and, following the sheet music spread

out in front of her on the conductor's podium, guided

the musicians through the session. At the one point,she

demanded a retake when she wanted the violinist to
80 play a certain note with an upward bow motion, rather

than a downstroke. Later, she asked the violinist to play

a series of notes by plucking the strings. She was unsat­-

isfied with the sound.

"Maybe make that plucking more Jike bells-ting.
85 ting, ting,", she said.

The violinist mimicked the motion she had mimed

at the podium and brought out a bell-like sound.

"Yes!" Spalding said.

Question 21 In general, the author presents Spalding as