Favorite

Rhythm & Views 

Meshell Ndegeocello

Sometimes you just wish Meshell Ndegeocello would play a song that has an identifiable instrumental melody, but the last thing she's about is conventional song forms.

On her latest album, the multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter emphasizes groove, bottom and hooks, but she seems to be able to work endlessly inventive results from her musical alchemy. She also weaves some spellbinding vocals that wrestle with such subjects as spirituality and religion, redemption, evolution, sexuality, self-image and politics, as well as outer and inner space. It's a heady and potentially pretentious combination, but Ndegeocello grounds it in a strong sense of personality and those insistent grooves.

Her new album is something of a "stone soup" affair. She is ably assisted in her funk-soul pursuits by an assortment of jazz all-stars, including saxophonist Oliver Lake, pianist Robert Glasper, guitarists Brandon Ross and Pat Metheny, cornetist Graham Haynes and flutist James Newton.

Lake contributes some amazing shards of alto sax soloing to "Virgo," but most surprising is Newton, who escorts "Lovely Lovely" with some not-cloying flute

"Relief: A Stripper Classic" is an achingly naked plea for intimacy and kindness after beauty fades, the drugs and alcohol run out and we've exhausted our exercises in tawdry human game-playing. It's a touching finish to a challenging album.

More by Gene Armstrong

  • Primer

    Tony Furtado
    • May 29, 2014
  • Wills Meets Reinhardt

    L.A.'s Cow Bop blends bebop and Western swing into a superbly danceable combo
    • May 22, 2014
  • Finding (the Eighth) Mr. Right

    Superb performances drive the '60s satire of Live Theatre Workshop's Loot
    • May 15, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

After Orlando: An International Theatre Action

Fifth Annual Rock Lottery with The Flycatcher

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Vintage Vinyl Tucson

    This week: The Spiders 'Don’t Blow Your Mind' b/w 'No Price Tag'
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • Court and Spark

    This Tucson singer-songwriter, who moonlights as a jailhouse psychotherapist, overcame career-killing circumstances
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation