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2011 Best Music Poll Winners
BEST MUSIC POLL > NATIONAL

Jazz

Esperanza Spalding


esperanza

You were expecting . . . Justin Bieber? It was Spalding's victory over Bieber (and a few other people) in the Best New Artist category at the Grammys that threw everyone for a loop this year — most likely herself included. It was the headline story coming out of that event. So you could hardly expect the 26-year-old singer, bassist, and composer not to take this — her home category — in the town where she made her name early on as a prodigy at Berklee. This was also the year she followed up her pop-leaning 2008 homonymous major label debut with the yet more challenging Chamber Music Society (Heads Up). Here is Spalding melding her bass — and her singing voice — into elaborate, beguiling arrangements for string quartet. It is easy on the ear without being easy, and she filled Sanders Theatre with people eager to hear it live. They didn't go home disappointed.

RUNNERS-UP:
2. The Bad Plus
3. Jason Moran
4. Joe Lovano

Presented By
Budweiser Vitamin Water