193

Meshell Ndegeocello: The Spirit Music Jamia: Dance of the Infidel

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
Meshell Ndegeocello: The Spirit Music Jamia: Dance of the Infidel Making jazz records is easy. Anyone with half a name and the slightest interest (read: Lea DeLaria and Queen Latifah) can hire a bassist and book a session. You don't really need any ideas, just a wisp of a voice and a desire to be "moody.

Fortunately Meshell Ndegeocello is smarter than that. She's hung with Madonna and the Stones and recorded rock and funk records, but her foray into grownup art (or whatever) is more than a vague sorta Billie redux. Instead she reaches back to '80s style integrations of jazz composition and electric instruments, not rehashing the M-BASE Collective but it's hard to imagine she doesn't have some of those discs at home.

Ndegeocello doesn't sing on the record and she only plays bass on a few tracks, but she gets composer credits (sharing the honors on some tracks with Oliver Lake, Don Byron, and others on a few), does some "programming (another '80s nod), and clearly serves as ringleader for the session. Along with Byron and Lake, Jack DeJohnette, Brandon Ross, Kenny Garrett, Wallace Roney, and Gregoire Maret, among others, fill out the band. And it is a band record. Lalah Hathaway and M-BASE alum Cassandra Wilson provide vocals, but most of the tracks are instrumental.

It's an admirable and clearly heartfelt attempt, even if much of it is burdened by overly bright keyboards and bass. It's not until the last three tracks that Spirit Music Jamia (the name given to her band) hits its stride. Wilson's vocals and Ross' guitar on "The Chosen make that track a standout. Lake's solo on "Luqman justifies the preceding jazz lite, and Hathaway's take on "Heaven (also known as "When Did You Leave Heaven, recorded by everyone from Louis Armstrong to Bob Dylan, Little Jimmy Scott, and Nancy Wilson) provides a nice, if slight, coda for an honest effort.


Track Listing: Mu-Min; Al-Falaq 113; Acquarium; Papillon; Dance of the Infidel; The Chosen; Luqman; When Did You Leave Heaven.

Personnel: Meshell Ndegeocello: bass (3-5,7), programming (1,3); Oliver Lake: saxophone (1,7); Don Byron: clarinet, bass clarinet (1,7); Joshua Roseman: trombone (1); Michael Cain: piano (2,5-7), keyboards (1,8); Chris Dave: drums (1,4,5,8); Wallace Roney: trumpet (2,7); Did Gutman: keyboards (2,3; programming (3); Brandon Ross: guitar (2,6,7); Gene Lake: drums (2,6); Mino Cinelu: percussion (2,7); Matthew Garrison: bass (2,4,6,7); Sabina: piano, vocals (3); Ron Blake: saxophones (3); Dan Rieser: clay drum (3); Ari Raskin: programming (3); Takuya Nakamura: programming (3); Kenny Garrett: saxophones (2,4,5); Federico Gonzalez Pena: keyboards (4); Oran Coltrane: saxophone (5); Neal Evans: keyboards (5),piano (8); Cassandra Wilson: vocals (6); Gregoire Maret: harmonica (2,7); Jack DeJohnette: drums (7); Pedro Martinez: percussion (7); Yosvany Terry: percussion (7); Lalah Hathaway: vocals (8).

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Shanachie Records | Style: Funk/Groove


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Never Group" CD/LP/Track Review Never Group
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 21, 2016
Read "Altered Narratives" CD/LP/Track Review Altered Narratives
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 2, 2016
Read "In Denmark 1959-1960" CD/LP/Track Review In Denmark 1959-1960
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Live At The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Checkpoint" CD/LP/Track Review Checkpoint
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 31, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!