12 LITTLE SPELLS (CD) - Esperanza Spaulding
Of course, she’s the star of the record, a polymath prodigy with ideas seemingly pouring out of her ears at every turn. She’s a thoughtful lyricist, crystalline-clear singer, groove-steady bassist and textural pianist. 12 Little Spells pushes Spalding further into a pop-influenced space of songwriting, a trajectory begun on 2012’s Radio Music Society, where jazz motifs met hook-laden melodies. Yet, its current hybrid pop-jazz-poetic state can’t contain the mass of Spalding’s ideas. The recording likely would benefit from giving listeners more time to take in its message and more space for its music to convey the depth of Spalding’s creativity.