Diggin' Meshell Ndgegeocello...

So I am profoundly excited about a performer new to me who has been around since the late 80's: Meshell Ndgegeocello.  She is a German born, American artist who sings, grooves, tells stories, plays with genre and gender bending in ways that take me to new places, performs on the bass while weaving together jazz, hip hop, soul, funk, electronica and rock. Her tow most recent recordings, "Pour Une Ame Souveraine - A Dedication to Nina Simone" and "Comet, Come to Me" are stunning. While very different,they are both creative works of art that have touched my soul in ways I haven't experienced since first hearing Cinematic Orchestra's "All Things to All Men," while browsing in a London shop 9 years ago. 

"There were moments of such intensity during Meshell Ndegeocello's Lincoln Center American Songbook concert on Wednesday night," wrote Stephen Holden in the NY Times, "that she and her musicians seemed to be conjuring a supernatural trance...Ms. Nedgeocello is a direct descendant of Ms. Simone, who played by nobody's rules and paid for it dearly. But unlike Ms. Simone, Ms. Ndegeocello is not driven by anger, outrage or an acute sense of injustice."

Reading about her roots makes me like her even more: she auditioned for the bass job with Living Colour (a killer African American rock fronted by English guitarist, Vernon Reid, who also fused rock with jazz, funk, hip hop and heavy metal), paid her dues while working the Washington, DC "go go" scene, recorded a duet with John Mellencamp ("Wild Nights"),  played with Herbie Hancock on an fund raiser for HIV/AIDS  and rapped alongside Madonna. She's done time with both Alainis Moresette and the Stones and toured with the Lilith Fair troupe in the mid 90's, too. Damn, I've heard some of her cuts over the past 15 years but never got down with her solo work - and it started in 1993! Bad on me!

The NY Times brought her to my attention yesterday during my sabbath morning tea and newspaper ritual. (check it out @ http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/13/arts/music/review-meshell-ndegeocello-hails-nina-simone.html?_r=0) I started listening to her on You Tube and could not get enough. So now, after a binge fix of her music, I want to start savoring it - letting both the soul and surprises wash over me  -and into me. This artist knows how to speak to the head and the heart simultaneously.

Times critic, Stephen Holden, wrote: "I have rarely heard sophisticated electronica deployed expressively enough to outfit each song in its own climate. Ms. Ndegeocello is the opposite of the a histrionic drama queen. Although the lyrics for many of Simone songs are charged with rage and sorrow, Ms. Ndegeocello let their words speak for themselves..." This is one musical artist/performer I am going to keep my eyes and ears open for in the weeks and months to come. Here's hoping our paths cross over the next six months because I want to experience her live concert - it will be like going to church (in all the best ways!)


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