Since making her full-length album debut in 1993 with Plantation Lullabies, Meshell Ndegeocello has undergone more musical and lyrical changes than Cher has costumes. Gender- and genre-bending, she has ripped through ever-hazier shades of avant-pop and soul in her most recent albums, the salty jazz and decadent rock of 2012's Pour Une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone, and the oddly layered dub/dance-hall pop of 2014's Comet, Come to Me.
Does she even recognize the woman and the artist she started out as, considering all her changes? "I do, yeah, though I don't believe that I necessarily think that way," says Ndegeocello, her voice a wee hoarse from a cold. "I see what I've done since my start as developing and adapting, you know, not something so structural than say, fluid. I morph. Or I'm morphing." What has driven that morphing? Maturity. Evolving ideas. And, most of all, an open, improv-heavy, collaborative musical ensemble that pushes her "melodic and harmonic" abilities. Longtime guitarist Christopher Bruce, keyboardist Jebin Bruni, and drummer Earl Harvin - who have worked in classical ensembles, contrapuntal jazz bands, Public Image Ltd, and Tears for Fears - aided in the layered arrangements and songwriting of Comet, Come to Me.