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Experience: Jill Scott 826+ Explicit Lyrics
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Experience: Jill Scott 826+
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Experience: Jill Scott 826+
Anyone who's seen Jill Scott live knows she's the real deal--a down-home diva more concerned with working a melody or getting her groove on than Britney-fied glitz or Badu-style pride. So it's no surprise that the singer's warmth translates beautifully on Experience, a collection of 11 live tracks recorded at Washington D.C.'s Constitution Hall, plus 6 previously unreleased cuts. With the Headhunters-esque intro of "A Long Walk" that opens the double disc, Scott and her more-than-capable backing band, Fatback Taffy, establish a heartfelt rapport with the audience that comes through not only in their reinterpretations of the singer's tunes, but in the pauses in between. This is apparent throughout, like when Scott notices a pregnant woman in the crowd and says with a giggle, "I see that baby in that belly over there--what's that baby doing?" Or when the Philly native belts the bridge on "Love Rain," intoning the line "You broke me, but now I'm healing" in lush, redemptive timbres. As for the new studio tracks, Scott offers up a set of solid originals that should leave fans plenty satisfied till her new album drops. Tracks like "Gimme," a funk-heavy dance track, and the drum & bass-driven "Gotta Get Up," are about as infectious as they come, while "Be Ready" features Scott's voice at its most gorgeous, her rich alto punctuating the song's syncopations with grace and ease. --Sylvia W. Chan
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Basically what one gets here is a double album;one disc of a live concert featuring her band Fatback Taffy and another of demo level unreleased material. The live set on the first disc stands out the most. For one thing her band has a rich,creamy sound overall. Fatback Taffy have the advantage of being about to get that retro soul thing down to a tee while retaining much of hip-hop's brooding spareness. She moves in and out of extended pieces such as "Love Rain","Do You Remember","It's Love" and "Gettin' In The Way" almost effortlessly as the songs thick,shuffling jazz styled funky soul textures flow from one tune to the next. Musically the most fanscinating and funky cuts is the high octane uptempo latin percussion styled "He Loves Me" which brings to mind,of all things Stevie Wonder's classic "Another Star". Her overall attitude in the between song banter is one of confidence and wit. Retaining hip-hop styled musings regarding people "with naturals always supposed to be positive" she also adds she sometimes is,other times not while explaining away some easily misinterpretable lyrics from "Gettin' In The Way". The song titled after the band is done in a great old fasioned gospel styled rave up.
The studio disc is a whole other matter. Focused far more on the hip-hop side of her "Gotta Get Up" finds Jill having one of her self dialogs about the world of duty versus personel need. Of these tunes the chunky funk of "Gimme" and the uniquely vocally chorded "Be Ready" are the most individual of these songs but for a disc of unrealesed music at this early point in a recording career,one really can't expect complete musical eveness. That being the case one thing this album definately isn't lacking on is Jill's type of self expression. She doesn't possess the in-your-face attitude of many female hip-hop/neo/retro soul type artists. Instead she comes more from the 70's OG era in terms of keeping her actual feelings just slightly guarded-choosing to express a more worldly outlook than an inward one. Her internal dialog is only occasionally expressed and that makes it an important element of her sound. The moody rhythmic and melodic side of her music also expressess this well. Even though she started out with a bang this album represents her intent on focusing on her music as art more than as a commodity.
Usually I don't buy live versions of albums I already have, but in this one she adds so much personality to the songs that I felt like I was sitting in the audience. I even started talking to my CD player saying, "SING IT GIRL!". Jill puts her all into her voice and I'm so happy to hear her over and over again