Three-time Grammy Award-winning R&B singer, poet, and actress, Jill Scott appeared at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center on July 15, 2013. Greeted by Washington’s humid 90 degree weather, the hot and steamy Monday night was alive with excitement and anticipation. It is unlikely that a jam-packed sweat-drenched crowd would sit through a thirty minute stage change, patiently awaiting many dons and divas. But that is exactly what they did for Philadelphia-born Jill Scott, lovingly known to some of her fans as “Jilly from Philly.”
Personally, I came hoping to hear some throw-back cuts from her 2000 double platinum debut recording, Who is Jill Scott? Words & Sounds, Vol. 1 whose words I had memorized over countless listenings. My favorites from those early days include “Golden;” “A Long Walk;” “Getting’ in the Way;” and “Do You Remember.” I was not disappointed; Ms. Scott more than obliged. An artist knows they are loved when the audience can sing their songs word for word and this DC crowd certainly showed her much love.
If I were asked to describe the one thing that Ms. Scott did that makes her so very successful, it would be a difficult task because there are so many diverse levels that emanate from her, naturally. When I listen to her songs I always hear a jazzy, soulful sound in her voice that is hers and hers alone. Jill can move effortlessly among a variety of genres, ranging from R&B, neo-soul, jazz, and occasionally operatic meanderings. While professional critics struggle to define her style, her fans just continue to love on her. Whatever genre the multi-talented diva chooses to deliver her message, you will dig Jill Scott, who embodies them all.
From her songs of the 2004-2009 period, Ms. Scott poured it on thick with “Whatever;” “Cross my Mind;” “It’s Love;” “Blessed;” and “Hate on Me” to the audience’s immense approval. “Hate on Me,” which topped her chart this summer at nearly 2.1 million plays, received mad love as women jumped to their feet with arms outstretched chanting, “Hate on me hater /Now or later/Cause I’m gonna do me… and “You cannot/ate on me/Cause my mind is free/Feel my destiny/so it shall be/You cannot hate on me…”
I also wanted to catch up on her more current efforts, especially 2011’s The Light of the Sun, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, with the single “So in Love.” Light is her fourth studio album following a four year hiatus from writing. Ms. Scott also gave us “So Gone, What my Mind Says” and the very popular “Blessed.”
Ms. Scott is known for a sometimes playful vocal style used in conversation with the audience and often spotlights her style with live instrumentation. Although she introduced them, regrettably, I was unable to give credit to the background singers, musicians or saxophone soloist due to the challenges of the large crowd, vast space and audio engineering. In my opinion, however, all were of A-list caliber.
Running Time: Three hours, with a 30-minute intermission.
LINK: Jill Scott’s website.
Jill Scott played one night only on July 15, 2013 in The Filene Center at Wolf Trap – 1551 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future performances and Information: Call (877) 965-3872), or check their calendar of events.