Esperanza Spalding – Emily’s D+Evolution (March 4, EMI)
Pronounced “D-plus evolution,” Esperanza Spalding’s latest LP sees her taking her jazz roots and pumping them up with rocking guitars and rolling rhythms. It’s not quite a concept album, but it does feature the character of Emily — either a spirit that possesses Spalding, or a muse that inspires her, depending on when you ask her. “I see her and am informed by her,” she told NPR. Her technicolor videos bring day-glo psychedelia into the computer age, and her rock star stance with her five-string gives hope to aspiring Bass Heroes everywhere.