Esperanza Spalding to perform free concert at UAB

Esperanza Spalding's Radio Music Tour comes to UAB April 15, 2013The last time Esperanza Spalding performed in Birmingham was in 2009 at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. That was before she'd won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 2011.

Now the world knows her, and she's playing a free concert here at UAB.

Monday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. Esperanza Spalding will appear at the Alys Stephens Center. Tickets are free, and the concert is open to the public―two points which should alert you to get there early if you want to get a good seat.

Unlike some artists who've faded into obscurity after being named "Best New Artist" by the Grammys (Remember Evanescence? Milli Vanilli? Starland Vocal Band?), Spalding's career has remained strong. In fact, she picked up two more Grammy Awards in 2013 for Best Jazz Vocal Album and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist. Her latest album, Radio Music Society, hit the top 10 on the Billboard charts and No. 1 on Billboard's Jazz chart.

While admission to Spalding's UAB concert is free, proceeds from her tour (in this case, the sale of merchandise at the show) benefits the Innocence Project, a group "dedicated to exonerating wrongly convicted individuals through DNA testing."

Spalding's concert is also part of 50 Years Forward, a commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham.

On a related note, also April 15 at UAB is Then and Now: A Black Hair Exhibition, celebrating the history and significance of African American hair throughout the decades. The event, presented by the Black Student Awareness Committee, will take place in the HUC Great Hall from 6-8 p.m. and includes free food. Maybe Esperanza Spalding can stop by before her concert to show off her own awesome hair.