Many were shocked earlier this year when jazz ingenue Esperanza Spalding beat out Justin Bieber for the “Best New Artist” Grammy. Responses ranged from “Who?” to Beliebers (ugh) hijacking her Wikipedia entry in anger. This writer, having seen Spalding open for Dave Brubeck at the Winnipeg Jazz Festival some four or five years ago, mostly wondered how she qualified as a new artist, but that’s another matter. Now Spalding shows exactly why she won on a new compilation.

Peter Stormare, best known as the guy who fed Steve Buscemi into a woodchipper in Fargo, apparently runs a record label and loves Billie Holiday. Who knew? On July 5, his label drops A Tribute to Billie Holiday, featuring artists like Rikki Lee Jones, Babyface, Boz Skaggs and Shelby Lynne performing songs of the late jazz great, interspersed with Angela Bassett reading excerpts from Holiday’s gritty autobiography. The comp includes Spalding’s version of “I’ll Look Around.” The arrangement may be a little adult contemporary, but Spalding’s voice dances deftly around the lyrics, showcasing her chops and putting the Bieb to shame. Download the track below.

MP3: Esperanza Spalding – I’ll Look Around (Billie Holiday cover)

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Check out more Esperanza Spalding on her website.

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