Esperanza Spalding: Song For A 'City Of Roses' One of the most celebrated voices in jazz returns to her old stomping grounds in Portland, Ore., to honor her longtime mentor, Thara Memory. Watch Esperanza Spalding perform "City of Roses."

Favorite Sessions

Esperanza Spalding: Song For A 'City Of Roses'opbmusic.org

Esperanza Spalding has often said that she hopes to use the fame from her 2011 Best New Artist Grammy to help give her friends and mentors in the jazz world the recognition they deserve. She got her chance earlier this month, when Spalding and her longtime teacher and mentor, trumpeter Thara Memory, accepted the Grammy for their arrangement of "City of Roses" from Spalding's 2012 album Radio Music Society.

Spalding started studying with Memory as an 8-year-old jazz prodigy, and credits his instruction with giving her a foundation in music. Memory went on to create the American Music Program, a magnet school which has been credited with training a new generation of jazz players — including Spalding and saxophonist Hailey Niswanger.

"City of Roses" is a celebration of Spalding's hometown of Portland, Ore. For the recording, Spalding wanted to showcase the city's jazz scene and the power of mentorship. She and Memory decided to include students from his Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra in the session, along with local professional musicians such as saxophonists Renato Caranto and trombonist Dan Brewster.

The group reunited in August 2012 for a benefit concert for the school; there, they performed this version of "City of Roses" for a hometown audience.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Willie Pickens On Piano Jazz

Chicago jazz mainstay Willie Pickens died this past December at age 86. Revisit his performance with McPartland in this 1997 episode of Piano Jazz.

Willie Pickens On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/604342537/604343909" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cleo Brown on the cover of Here Comes Cleo. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Cleo Brown On Piano Jazz

Cleo Brown makes a rare appearance to perform her greatest hit, "Pinetop's Boogie-Woogie," and to recall the style's heyday in the 1930s.

Cleo Brown On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/602133644/602133663" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
NEA

The 2018 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Dianne Reeves, Pat Metheny, Joanne Brackeen and Todd Barkan are recipients of the 2018 Jazz Masters award — the highest honor the U.S. gives to a jazz musician or advocate.

Gus Bennett, Jr./Courtesy of the artist

Nicholas Payton On Piano Jazz

The trumpet prodigy learned how to improv from fellow New Orleans native Wynton Marsalis. Payton was only in his 20s when he visited with McPartland for this 1998 episode.

Nicholas Payton On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/598825823/600192516" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cecil Taylor performs at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in 2002. Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

Cecil Taylor On Piano Jazz

Cecil Taylor encompasses a never-ending range of sound and emotion. Hear an archival session with Marian McPartland from 1994.

Cecil Taylor On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/600173531/600190821" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Courtesy of the artist

Gil Goldstein On Piano Jazz

In this 2001 episode, the D.C. native and frequent film composer performs his original "City Lights" as well as demonstrates his chops on the accordion.

Gil Goldstein On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/598056503/598226187" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Courtesy of the artist

Earma Thompson On Piano Jazz

She was a mainstay on the Chicago jazz scene for over 50 years before releasing an album as a bandleader herself. On this 2005 episode of Piano Jazz, the pianist performs tracks off Just In Time.

Earma Thompson On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/596404631/596405385" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

This week's episode of Jazz Night In America features music by Maqueque Emma Lee Photography/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Emma Lee Photography/Courtesy of the artist

Jane Bunnett And Maqueque: The New Queens of Afro-Cuban Jazz

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Canadian saxophonist and flutist Jane Bunnett has dedicated her life to Cuban music. Her latest project is Maqueque, an all-female band of young Cuban artists blending folkloric grooves and jazz.

Jane Bunnett And Maqueque: The New Queens of Afro-Cuban Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/596004201/596139016" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top