It takes a society: Interactions with dominant discourses on Esperanza Spalding’s Chamber Music Society
Terwisscha van Scheltinga, S.P.
MetadataShow full item record
In 2010, jazz musician Esperanza Spalding released an album with the title Chamber Music Society. On this album, Spalding alludes both musically and conceptually to an idea of chamber music that got its recognizable shape in the nineteenth century with the canonization of classical repertoire, while still delivering a product that can be classified as ‘jazz’. Thus, Spalding positions herself within both discourses. Three issues feature prominently in these discourses that are particularly interesting because of Spalding’s position and background: the issues of ethnicity, gender and creative genius. While Spalding reinforces several elements of the idea of chamber music in her interviews, on issues of ethnicity, gender and genius she mostly does not comply to stereotypes (although some critics assessing her musicianship do). The elements of chamber music that were not addressed in written sources can be found in the music itself. Therefore, while Spalding confirms the dominant idea of chamber music musically, she challenges other ideas linked to chamber music and jazz discourse in statements concerning her musicianship.