One of the great privileges of being a music critic is after listening to tons of average, go-for-the-chord-changes-and-try-not-to-make-a-mistake, recordings, occasionally a CD comes along that makes a singularly accomplished artistic statement. Such is the case with trumpeter-cornetist-flugelhornist-composer Christian Scott’s new CD, Anthem.

Whenever she performs on stage Esperanza Spalding is hard to miss. Her signature Afro hairstyle and big upright bass gets the attention every time and although it's not so common to see a female play bass, it is even less common when the bass is an upright. However, Esperanza Spalding would not have it any other way.

"People are so used to seeing big guys play it (the upright bass) but in the environment that I grew up in there were other women playing upright bass. M …