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Jill Scott The Light Of The Sun Advance Review Musiq Avenue

  • Author, actress, artist extraordinaire: in the span of twelve years, a poet from North Philadelphia flipped a chance meeting with Amir “?uestlove” Thompson (of the legendary hip-hop band, The Roots) into a co-writing credit on a Grammy-Award-winning song (“You Got Me”), a Canadian tour with the legendary musical Rent and a recording contract, becoming one of her generation’s most lauded purveyors of raw soul and Ramp;B.  Her debut CD may have put forth the question “who is Jill Scott?,” but thanks to her ‘round-the-way girl’ charisma, lush soprano and the ability to combine prose, jazz phrasing and hip-hop, it was destined that she wouldn’t remain a mystery for long.

  • 2011 finds the acclaimed Jilly from Philly in new territory, signed to a different label (Warner Bros.), divorced and raising a two-year-old with former fiancé and band member, “Lil’” John Roberts. An NAACP Image Award, three Grammys and a blossoming film/television career has entrenched her star power, so it’s only natural that Ms. Scott would channel all of that swag into her fourth studio release, The Light of the Sun, an intimate tour of emboldened attitudes and emotions that may be her most awe-inspiring and audacious CD yet .

  • It’s obvious from jump that Ms. Scott is, for lack of a better term, “feeling herself.” She’s the co-producer of the project along with the increasingly in-demand JR Hutson (who put his creative stamp on a couple of songs in 2007’s The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3), Dre amp; Vidal and Warryn Campbell, who all guide her rich lyrical content and soulful sensibilities into exciting and unexpected directions. She tells the world her state of mind in the exuberant,  off-beat opener, “Blessed,” counting off life’s positives in a joyful hybrid of singing and spoken word: “My grandma almost lived to see 92, I’m so blessed, yes yes yes yes/my son was born healthy and beautiful, I’m so blessed, yes yes yes/ my momma’s on my right side, daddy’s on my left, my son’s father doing his absolute/I’m so blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed.” Its flipside, “Hear My Call,” is a delicately delivered, piano-laced plea to her Creator after wounding heartbreak: “Lost here in the dark, I can’t see my foot to take a step/what is happening? Oh this hurts so bad, I can hardly breathe/I just want to leave so God/ please hear my call, I am afraid, for me/love has burned me raw, I need your healing…..please.”

  • As a woman who’s lived, loved and lost, Jill comfortably swings from one end of the relationship pendulum to the next, withholding lustful surrender in the percussive “Making You Wait” and taunting a reluctant prospect in the Special Ed-channeling hip-shaker,  “Shame,” flush with 1970s-styled tambourines, high-hats, irresistible funk and the ‘tell-em-girl’ backing of a harmony-rich trio, The A Group (as well as a long-overdue collabo with another Philly native, Eve): “You’re standing against the wall, Baby why you frontin’/when you can take my hand and we can get into somethin’/ it’s a shame….you’re missing out on me.” “Le BOOM Vent Suite,” its inevitable sequel, proclaims to a man that his snail’s pace has taken him out of the running as she explores other, ahem, options: “I can’t wait no more, somebody else is sniffing at my dress, heeeey/somebody is checking for a sistah, and I’m sorry, you’re about to get left.”

  • Melodic, masterful and mesmerizing throughout, Ms. Scott stretches her enviable range beyond the expected Ramp;B joints, indulging her hip-hop side (Houston’s Paul Wall drops salacious rhymes in an ethereal and achingly vulnerable ballad, “So Gone ,” while Doug E. Fresh’s beat box is the foundation for her sassy kiss-off, “All Cried Out ”) before trading giddy verses with Anthony Hamilton ( “So In Love”) and offering up a hand-clapping, neck-rocking mantra for ladies who haven’t yet realized their feminine powers on Rolling Hills: “Shines like the moon and strong like the sea, more expensive than money, more valuable than anything/Juicy mango summer peach, make a lame man walk, and a full man hungry…..you’re a prized possession, not everybody’s worthy.”

  • Professional conflicts, relationship woes, unavoidable trials and transitionslife can make the winds blow chilly and hasten rain to fall, but for those who stay resilient, golden days are coming, and that’s what Miss Jilly from Philly conveys with aplomb as she basks, most deservedly, in The Light of the Sun. Enthusiastically Recommended.



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