ESPERANZA SPALDING'S "Radio Music Society" Set For 10th Anniversary Reissue
180 gram vinyl and hi-res digital audio
By: Press Release
Los Angeles, CA - Craft Recordings announces a 10th-anniversary edition of Radio Music Society, the GRAMMY Award-winning fourth album from singer, songwriter, and bassist, Esperanza Spalding. Set for release on December 2 and available for pre-order, the 2-LP set is pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI, while the title will also be reissued in stunning hi-res digital audio. Executive produced by the legendary hip-hop artist Q-Tip, the 2012 album features the singles “Black Gold” and “Radio Song,” plus the GRAMMY®-winning track, “City of Roses,” and boasts an all-star line-up of talent, including pianist Leo Genovese, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, and tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, plus vocalists Lalah Hathaway and Gretchen Parlato, among many others.
When Esperanza Spalding began work on Radio Music Society, the follow-up to her breakthrough third album, Chamber Music Society (2010), she was enjoying the rarified status of being one of the industry’s most exciting new stars. A musical virtuoso from Portland, OR—whose work straddles the line between jazz, soul, and R&B—Spalding attended Berklee College of Music, where, upon graduation, she became one of the prestigious institution’s youngest instructors. The artist also stayed busy with her trio and soon caught the ears of label reps, releasing her debut album, Junjo, in 2006, followed by 2008’s Esperanza. It was Chamber Music Society, however, that placed the artist on a global platform—particularly following her 2011 GRAMMY win for Best New Artist.
While the songs on Chamber Music Society were underscored by classical instrumentation, Radio Music Society found Spalding moving towards a pop-oriented sound. Working with the hit-making producer and rapper, Q-Tip, Spalding assembled a broad array of celebrated musicians to join her in the studio, including Leo Genovese (keyboards), Darren Barrett (trumpet), Joe Lovano (tenor saxophone), guitarists Jef Lee Johnson and Lionel Loueke, and drummers Terri Lyne Carrington, Billy Hart, and Jack DeJohnette. The artist also chose a star-studded line-up of guest vocalists, including Gretchen Parlato, Algebra Blessett, Lalah Hathaway, and Leni Stern.
Featuring a dynamic collection of ten original tracks, plus two choice covers (Wayne Shorter’s “Endangered Species,” and the Stevie Wonder-penned “I Can’t Help It,” made famous by Michael Jackson), Radio Music Society offers a compelling example of Spalding’s chameleon-like versatility as an artist. Among the highlights is “Black Gold,” featuring vocals from Blessett and Loueke, with additional backing from the Savannah Children’s Choir. A Top 40 Adult R&B hit, the joyful song offers an empowering message of hope to young Black men, as Spalding sings “Hold your head as high as you can/High enough to see who you are, little man… Think of all the strength you have in you/From the blood you carry within you.”
The second single “Radio Song,” which opens the album, finds Spalding ruminating on the magical power of music to raise one’s spirits. Another standout track is the funky and breezy love song, “Crowned & Kissed,” which highlights the nimble work of Carrington and Genovese, while the swinging “Hold on Me” finds Spalding channeling the vocal stylings of classic jazz singers. The artist’s jazz roots also shine particularly bright on the airy “City of Roses,” which features plenty of grooves from the American Music Program Big Band. The uplifting song earned a GRAMMY for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s).
Spalding also tackles social and political issues, focusing on the war in Afghanistan in the solemn “Vague Suspicions.” The brief but powerful ballad, “Land of the Free,” meanwhile, centers around the 2011 exoneration of Cornelius Dupree, who spent 30 years in prison for crimes he did not commit. Spalding questions America’s criminal justice system as she sings, “How can we call our home, the land of the free/Until we’ve unbound the praying hands/Of each innocent woman and man.”
If Chamber Music Society was Spalding’s entrée into musical stardom, then Radio Music Society reinforced her power as an artist. Upon its release, the album debuted at No.10 on the Billboard 200 and No.1 on the Jazz chart. Abroad, Radio Music Society landed in the Top 40 in Japan and countries across Europe. The album was also widely acclaimed by critics around the globe, garnering accolades from the likes of Germany’s Spiegel, Britain’s The Guardian, and Rolling Stone, which declared Spalding to be “A dazzling player.” AllMusic praised the album as “One of enormous ambition [with] polished production, sophisticated, busy charts, and classy songwriting,” while All About Jazz hailed Spalding as the “unofficial ambassador for contemporary jazz,” adding that she “brings a fresh exuberance marked by prodigious talent; honoring those who have paved the way, yet seeking to pursue her own path.” The following year, at the 55th annual GRAMMYs, Spalding was also celebrated by her peers, earning an award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
In the decade following Radio Music Society, Spalding has continued her musical journey, releasing four more albums along the way, including Emily’s D+Evolution (2016) and the GRAMMY-winning 12 Little Spells (2018)—both of which topped the Billboard Jazz chart. Spalding’s latest project, 2021’s Songwrights Apothecary Lab, examines the healing properties of music. Self-described as “Half songwrighting workshop, and half guided-research practice,” the intriguing title won Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 2022 GRAMMYs.