Album: Esperanza Spalding, Radio Music Society (Heads Up/Decca

After the charming acoustic set Chamber Music Society, and just-pipping Bieber to a Grammy for Best New Artist, bassist, singer and composer Spalding tries to breathe new life into the dead form of smooth jazz-fusion.

And nearly succeeds. She's a massive talent, still only 27, and the best of these 12 songs pop and fizz, smuggling micro-licks by Joe Lovano and others into the mix. She also does protest in the mordant "Land of the Free" and an Iraq war song. But the smooth wins out.