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Esperanza Spalding 

When: Sat., Aug. 25, 8 p.m. 2012
Price: $30-$75

In a scene that often delineates itself along the axis of "traditional" and "contemporary," singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding upsets all such notions. Her music blends influences from baroque and classical just as readily as it does from modern hip-hop, showing a level of scholarship that's unique to Spalding's generation. At 27, she's younger than other genre-benders like keyboardist Robert Glasper and vibraphonist Stefon Harris, both of who helped bring a hip sensibility to the jazz world. But Spalding is more adventurous than Harris and less self-consciously cool than Glasper. Her main concern, it seems, is cobbling all her disparate tastes into a coherent artistic vision -- collaborations with pop stars and Grammy Awards might be a nice auxiliary benefit, but not an end goal. Spalding structured her last two albums as chamber music suites, albeit with a modern edge. She'll perform selections from her latest album, Radio Music Society,at the Paramount Theatre (2025 Broadway, Oakland) on Saturday, Aug. 25, as part of SFJAZZ's fall concert season. 8 p.m., $30-$75. or

— Rachel Swan


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