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Esperanza Spalding Casts First of “12 Little Spells” Online

Her new suite, debuting one piece at a time over 12 days, was written with parts of the body in mind

Esperanza Spalding
Esperanza Spalding (photo: Marek Lazarski)

The singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding yesterday (Oct. 7) released the first installment of her new musical suite, 12 Little Spells, which she is unveiling to the public online via her website and Facebook and Instagram accounts. Spalding is putting out the project piece by piece—or spell by spell, in her parlance—every day at 12:12 p.m. Eastern time, until October 18, at which point the music will be available for pre-order.

12 Little Spells is, according to a press release, an investigation of art’s restorative energy; each track was written with a part of the body in mind. Spalding recorded the music about two weeks ago in Brooklyn, with Matthew Stevens on guitar, Justin Tyson on drums, Aaron Burnett on saxophone, Burniss Travis on bass, Corey King on background vocals, and Rob Schwimmer on continuum.

The first track, written for the thoracic spine, is accompanied by this bit of text: “For increased oxygen and circulatory support from the external world to anatomical and/or energetic lungs and heart. Via sensations of the conversational exchange – circulation – between the abundant ‘outside’ and our internal body. Grounding the sensation of infinite exchange with external systems of support, in the bellows of our rib-cage cavity, mounted on the spinal pole.”

The full recording will be released on Concord Records in 2019, though before that happens, Spalding will perform in a series of pop-up shows, to be announced soon.

Here is a track list for 12 Little Spells, with corresponding body parts:

“12 Little Spells” — Thoracic Spine
“To Tide Us Over” — Mouth
“Til the Next Full” — Eyes
“Thang” — Hips
“Touch in Mine” — Fingers
“The Longing Deep Down” — Abdominal Portal
“You Have to Dance” — Feet
“Now Know” — Solar Portal
“All Limbs Are” — Arms
“Readying to Rise” — Legs
“Dancing the Animal” — Mind/Brain
“With Others” — Ears

Read Esperanza Spalding’s Q&A with JazzTimes about her innovative recent album Exposure.

Originally Published