Jill Scott - Woman (2015)

Jill Scott
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"I've been reading my old journals, checking to see where my head has been/And I've been apologizing to some people, some bridges I needed to mend....."
from "Prepared" by Jill Scott, 2015

Four years, especially within the context of the social media era we live in, can feel like an eternity. Memories can fade, attention spans can shorten and interests can shift completely from one artist to the next. But that's when you're a modern, trend-driven fan and the artist in question is still, well, proving themselves.

"I've been reading my old journals, checking to see where my head has been/And I've been apologizing to some people, some bridges I needed to mend....."
from "Prepared" by Jill Scott, 2015

Four years, especially within the context of the social media era we live in, can feel like an eternity. Memories can fade, attention spans can shorten and interests can shift completely from one artist to the next. But that's when you're a modern, trend-driven fan and the artist in question is still, well, proving themselves.

The time lapse doesn't matter if you're a bonafide, full-on multi-media diva like Jill Scott. In the years since her last CD, The Light Of The Sun, the soulful actress, poet and performer changed labels, added 4 movie roles to her expanding acting resume and remained a doting mother to her now school-aged son, Jett. It doesn't sound like there was much time for relaxation, but from the sounds of her latest CD, Woman, our Jilly from Philly perused her emotional attic and did some serious spring cleaning...all to our advantage, of course. 

Prose, pontification, praising and purging----that's the simplest way to sum up the technique that's heard and felt throughout. And since we ladies can simultaneously embody a variety of aspects, the CD makes for a mesmerizing, multi-faceted and sometimes messy ride (in a good way). With both established names and new jacks at the helm (Andre "Dre" Harris, Andrew Wansel, 9th Wonder, David Banner) Mama Jill spends the opening tracks upacking her baggage via spoken word before breaking into literal song. If the music were to be compared to cuisine, Woman would be a well-made gumbo, with its murky 1960s/1970s vinyl-recalling soul and funk base, rich textures of conflicting flavors and emotions and the raw honesty that comes with the wisdom of becoming a grown-@$$ lady. There are moments where Ms. Scott offers up a comfort zone (the nebulous and sensual "Lighthouse"), pleads for time and assurance before surrendering to love (an aquatic, cool-as-a-fan "Cruisin'") and wags a finger at a disappointing ex -- while four are pointing back at her own wayward heart----in the catchy, hip-hop injected lament "Fools Gold": "So I thought I would try something new, I wanted to find out if I could live happily after you / And it turned out I wasn't living at all, I never would've known / if you were just playing along." 

Passion and pain are a part of the mix---that's what happens when growth occurs -- but that doesn't preclude Jill from having a sense of humor about the process or giving her man props when they're due. Aretha Franklin would give a positive 'right on' to "Back Together," a "....Natural Woman"-esque ode to the man who added instead of subtracting from her life. Jill compels listeners to recall that first adult-onset true heartbreak in the soul-scraping Jerry Ragovy remake "You Don't Know," and sends an ex bouncing out the back door with afterglow and an empty stomach ("I can come back and wash your car for them waffles.......you callin' the cops?") in the funny and funkdafied kiss-off entitled "Closure": "Don't be expectin' no breakfast in the morning Babe, you got all you gon' get, this is it/this is closure, this is closure this is closure......." Bloop. 

Jilly from Philly took the long way around to deliver this set, and its contents may come across as too unwieldly and even self-indulgent for some. But being a woman isn't always neat, polite, restrained and doing what everyone expects you to do. However, for those who love us ladies, however, with indulgences and imperfections included, it's not a hard road to travel and the scenery along the way is simply fabulousEnthusiastically recommended. 

By Melody Charles


 
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