Jill Scott’s Performance and Message of Self Love Bright As The Summer Sun!
If you walk out of here hungry, I didn’t do it right,” said Jill Scott at the mid-point of her headlining performance at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, this past Friday night. And no doubt, the smiling faces on the capacity crowd exiting the Eastman Theater definitely went home satisfied following Jilly from Philly’s one hour and forty-five minute banquet of musical goodness for the mind, body and soul.
You could feel the electric and immediate connection between Scott and her adoring audience as she opened the show with “Breathe” and the intimate vibe emanating from the front row to the back of the balcony seemed to glow like the changing colors on the stage which also featured a Basquiat-reminiscent painting. Immediately following “Watching Me” (which still seemed sadly appropriate nearly two-decades later) a stagehand appeared to take her pumps off giving “Golden” an even more unbridled and joyous energy that didn’t subside throughout the remainder of the performance which flowed with an organic, free-flowing spontaneity and versatility in the best of the jazz tradition.
As she proudly proclaimed, “we don’t do the same show twice” and her five piece backing band seamlessly glided through dusty psychedelic funk, D.C. Go-go and nocturnal romantic grooves. Scott remains a powerhouse and is one of her generation’s greatest and most multifaceted singers. Heart breakers like “Missing You and “Fool’s Gold” were seasoned with touching, empowering and often hilarious ( and at times, too risqué to print) life-lessons that she shared. She’s a born entertainer and in an interlude where she gave props to Diana Ross, Bette Midler and Millie Jackson she had t
he crowd in stitches with a lovingly spot on impersonation of Ross.
“The Way” was the expected crowd sing-along while “A Long Walk” was a brisk stroll for a warm summer’s night, performed with a faster, funkier tempo which included snippets of Roy Ayers’ “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” and EU’s “Da Butt.” Jill did a bit of the “School Daze” dance herself. She saved the best for last, however. The show closed with “He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)” with an incredible, spine tingling display of Scott’s vocal range and when she exited the stage singing “This Little Light Of Mine” her message of self-love was as bright as the summer sun.