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[Off The Record]
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Jill Scott

The problem: hot young artist has no new material in the works. The solution: throw together a live-album/outtakes collection to cash in on the holiday-spending spurt. Erykah Badu did it, and now neo-soul sensation Jill Scott has followed her stellar debut, 2000ís Who Is Jill Scott?, with Experience: Jill Scott 826+, a quickie double-disc set released just in time for Christmas.

To her credit, Scott combines the live album ("826" refers to the date of the concert, August 26) and the outtakes collection ("+" refers to the nine-track disc tagged on) into one low-priced product. The live set starts out on the good foot with a reworked version of "A Long Walk" that displays the sinewy, jazz-funk chops of Scottís backing band and the range of her almond-toasted vocals. And in contrast to the reserved singing on her platinum debut, 826+ finds her showing off some impressive jazz-type chops ó she stretches lyrics over the bar line and jumps octaves like a Sarah Vaughan protégée. But by the midway point the vocal trickery has begun to obscure the melodies, and her conversational chats with the audience get tiresome after a while. The second disc features one interesting prog-soul cut ("Gotta Get Up") produced by drum íní bass act 4Hero; the rest is for diehard fans only.


Issue Date: December 20 - 27, 2001

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