Smoothing it out with Ms. Scott

I haven’t kept up with Jill Scott since her eponymous debut Who Is Jill Scott, so was it ever a treat to happen on this 2014 album as the grim covid-19 situation was cresting here in New York. The Light of the Sun is a particularly favorite jam right now. If you need both a diversion and fortitude, grab this. Scott’s skill at smooth, sweet groove backing trenchant lyrics has only improved as she strolls and swaggers joyously in the no man’s land between soul, funk, jazz, and swinging hip-hop beats.

Thom Jurek of Allmusic rightly describes this as “a record of the rocky road to empowerment… Scott expresses spoken and sung gratitude for and about her new baby, career, life, and support system. Poetry and song are woven with elegance in a nocturnal groove… On The Light of the SunScott sounds more in control than ever; her spoken and sung phrasing (now a trademark), songwriting, and production instincts are all solid. This is 21st century Philly soul at its best.”

While every track on this album is a bop, I keep repeating the addictive pre-release single “So in Love”: a modern Philly soul fan’s dream, with its lithe, fingerpopping bassline, shimmering drums, and seeming bliss arising between Scott and Anthony Hamilton, who turn in a grand duet performance.