In My Write Mind
**Posted By Request**
A commentary/review of Experience: Jill Scott 826+ (from 2002)
Her voice burned the tips of my ears, shading them red just like they do each time I’m feeling excited or overwhelmed. But this was a good type of excitement, maybe even contentment. Let me put it this way: listening to her sing is like listening to a baby laugh—you just want it to go on forever.
That was my first experience with her. It was at S.O.B.’s in New York City, the winter of 1999. A little-known spoken-word artist from Philadelphia was performing with the band The Roots that night. They called her “Jilly from Philly.” I called her “The Truth”, as in no gimmicks, no lies. Hell, I’d call her my wife if she’d let me, but that’s another story altogether.
Yes, Hidden Beach recording artist Jill Scott has been burning the ears of many with melodies and spoken word for a long time. It was, however, with her debut project Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Volume 1 (which hit stores in July 2000) that she garnered the attention and recognition she so richly deserved.
Her collection of songs takes people back to a time when rhythm and blues wasn’t so manufactured, so plastic. It’s “pure butta soul”, ala D’Angelo and Erykah Badu. Yet she’s also different from those artists, serving up songs such as the soothing “A Long Walk”, the defiant “Getting In the Way” and the sultry and captivating “He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)”.
Her words make you feel like you’re living out the situations or at least that you’re with her while she is. The songs burn honest and real. They’re true.
Who is Jill Scott… was definitely an experience.
The fact that the CD has gone platinum provides evidence that aside from the paper towels, Jill is the most popular Scott in many households. Her sold-out Words and Sounds tour was an experience “plus”--with the self-described “African American woman writer artist representing love” telling you her truth while re-evaluating what love is, what it means to be in love and the way in which you love.
The clamor for more from the Philly native shows that people are ready for that “Jilly.” And Ms. Scott (or if you want to get technical, the recently married Mrs. Scott-Williams) said, in the words of comedian D.L. Hughley, “Go on and keep the party going!”
The recent release of Experience: Jill Scott 826+ does just that, putting you right in an orchestra seat at one of the greatest shows on Earth. You might call it the “Jill-harmonic.” The double CD features a live concert that was recorded August 26 in Washington, DC as well as eight new studio tracks (thus the title) by the humble yet straightforward artist.
Along with her band Fatback Taffy as well as Carol Riddick, Vivian Green and Monique Harcum, whom Jill describes as singers who “sing the heavens into background vocals”, Ms. Scott puts it down live. The DC audience, like all of her audiences, scream out the words to familiar songs, even joining in on the extended “Do You Remember”. Jill shows off her gift for poetry on the penetrating “Love Rain” and also on the sobering live track “Thickness”, which describes the travails of a young girl who does the wrong things to gain acceptance.
“When I get in front of the mic, all I want is to tell my truth,” says Jill, who this year alone has shared the stage with music legends Sting and Stevie Wonder. “I always believed I could sing, but didn’t want my voice to just be easy on the ears. I wanted my voice to shape pictures whether I had words to say or not. I wanted my sound to come from my soul.”
If you were privileged enough to attend one of her concert dates, you already know the sounds and should relive as well as re-love it.
For those who are just finding out who Jill Scott is, after one listen, you just may hear babies laugh, your ears will burn and you will know “the truth.”
Try it. No gimmicks, no lies. You’ll be better for the Experience.
scribbled by Will at 10/18/2004 08:02:00 AM
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I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)
The Write One
Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971. Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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