Esperanza Spalding turned Jon Stewart’s Daily Show into a jazz club last night and belted out two songs from her new album Radio Music Society. Stewart doesn’t often do music, but when he does, it’s usually awesome.
Spalding, 27, is well-known in jazz circles, but only vaulted to national attention last year when she set teen sensation Justin Bieber back on his heels by beating him out for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards.
She was the first jazz artist to ever win the award.
She popped up on last night’s “Daily Show” with two songs from her new album, “Black Gold,” and “Crowned and Kissed.” The album made it all the way to No. 10 on the pop charts and took the top spot on Jazz charts.
She grew up in Portland, Ore., raised by a single mother in what she described as a “pretty scary” ghetto neighborhood. She has a diverse ethnic background. Her father is African-American and ber mother is Welsh, Native American and Hispanic.
She is naturally gifted. By the time Spalding was five, she had taught herself to play the violin and was playing with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon.
Stewart, of course, had to get in on the act, and noted that he played “air bass.” He asked Spalding to explain his style of playing by holding the bass high up under his neck.
Spalding played right along. Check out the video: