Esperanza Spalding is one cool chick blending boundaries on the tune “Good Lava”—the first track from her upcoming Emily’s D+Evolution (March 4/Concord)—like silly putty, rolling over a rock riff here, imprinting a funky bass line there, while jazz beats flow down the sides like some hot molten stuff that makes you wanna go all Pompeii and get stuck in it. The video is crazy fun. Directed and animated by Ondrej Rudavsky, the clip opens like an Esperanza-fueled Bond intro with her in silhouette dancing inside an illustrated swirl as a red beat pulses from her heart, but then turns into a wild ride that made me feel like Jeannie living inside of a Lava Lamp decorated with the wallpaper of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. If you like any of the things mentioned in that previous sentence, then you’ll dig this video. But as an extra-added bonus, you get the music too! Esperanza’s new project, which is co-produced by her and Tony Visconti (David Bowie), has her joined by, among others, guitarist Matthew Stevens (Christian Scott) and drummer Karriem Riggins (Madlib, Erykah Badu). With her amazing style, she moves the song toward a rock groove that to my ears brought in a sense of Queens of the Stone Age and Masters of Reality feel, the latter reference making sense given Ginger Baker’s beats in Masters looping right into Esperanza’s jazz undertones.
This is some good lava!
Lauren has enjoyed the music bizness from the inside out while writing and editing for Rolling Stone, Spin and other national magazines, and doing video promotion for Elektra records. Currently, while still working in the NYC publishing industry, she's most happy being on the outside looking in on all things musical.