November 24, 2008 |
Everyone treats "neo-soul" like a dirty word. Shame, that. Sure, the genre had funny hats and too many Fender Rhodes piano interludes (I'm looking at you, Jamiroquai). But the Drambuie-soaked ambience of R&B's simmering heat, hip-hop's rhythmic cool, jazz's gymnastic breeziness and their combined attitudes made the world safe for geniuses of modern soul such as Raphael Saadiq, Cee-Lo Green and Maxwell. Maxwell is the 35-year-old crooner/composer who between 1996 and 2001 released three cinematic classics of neo-soul, then dropped out for a while after that.
August 28, 2009 |
Philly's Jaguar Wright is soul's forgotten woman. This most emotional, cocksure of local MCs-turned-vocalists, who made her mark before the start of neo-soul, had it down cold. She still does, as her gig Wednesday night at World Cafe Live proved. In 1999, Wright's voice had the sass of Patti LaBelle, the sex of Millie Jackson, and the street of Mary J. Blige, with a hip-hop-inspired groove below it. Her lyrical aplomb was caustic, naughty, and tender - easily making her a star of the Black Lily scene, along with Jill Scott.
June 5, 2003 |
Natalie Stewart, wordsmith of the neo-soul/hip-hop duo Floetry, describes the tape as a bit of whimsical braggadocio. A little more than two years ago, as she and musical collaborator Marsha Ambrosius prepared to leave London for what they hoped would be the start of their Stateside music careers, Stewart made her older brother a birthday tape. "It was the first birthday I [would be] away from him," she said recently, sitting in the Philadelphia office of Floetry's management, enjoying a rare two-day tour break in the city the two now call home.
September 6, 2002 |
Ever since her mid-'90s collaborations (and romantic involvement) with D'Angelo, Angie Stone has been marked as a member of the nostalgic "neo-soul" movement. The critical and commercial success of the frank, worldly Mahogany Soul, her second release, has even led some to dub Stone, 36, the "Queen of Neo-Soul. " Yet Stone doesn't fit the mold of her fellow travelers, many of whom are relatively young and desperately naive. At the dawn of the neo-soul era, Stone had been making music professionally for more than a decade, first with Sequence, an all-female rap trio signed to the influential Sugar Hill label, and then as a member of the vocal group Vertical Hold.
March 3, 2012 |
Before playing a single note, before even sitting down at the keyboards at World Cafe Live on Thursday night, Robert Glasper's first order of business was to ask for the stage lights to be dimmed. "We like it kind of sexy," he insisted. Vibe and atmosphere are all-important to the Robert Glasper Experiment. The quartet, which serves as the electric complement to Glasper's slightly more traditional acoustic trio, exists as a permanent jam session, tackling every tune with a sprawling, exploratory looseness.
October 5, 2012 |
VIVIAN GREEN wants fans to know: The vocal powerhouse who lit the joint on fire with kiss-offs like "Gotta Go, Gotta Leave (Tired)," "Mad" and "Selfish" is no longer angry and not into male-bashing anymore. And the East Oak Lane native (now a Brewerytown resident) also has been listening and responding to your stylistic critiques with her new album, "The Green Room," out Tuesday on the eOne imprint. The music should likewise play nicely at the Keswick come Sunday, when Green and her quartet share a bill with the seasoned progressive soul band Mint Condition.
March 5, 2013 |
Thankfully, the promised inflatable rat courtesy of Philadelphia's IATSE Local 8 stagehands' union didn't show up at Saturday night's Erykah Badu show at the Electric Factory. Last week, Local 8 claimed on its Facebook page that Electric Factory's stagehands were underpaid, and that neither audience members nor Badu should cross their line. Yet there was no trouble at the Factory (and no indication whether the issue was resolved); only a sold-out crowd roused by the good vibrations of a woman who, in 1997, released two albums - Baduizm, Live - that midwifed the then-burgeoning new music brand of neo-soul.
February 24, 2002 |
During the two years she spent recording her debut, Acoustic Soul, India.Arie heard Motown president Kedar Massenburg offer the same advice over and over. The tireless producer and executive, who discovered D'Angelo and Erykah Badu and literally holds a trademark on the term neo-classic soul, had no quibble with the songs she was writing for acoustic guitar, songs that have led to a surprising seven Grammy bids for an artist with a shade-above-cult following. And he had nothing but encouragement for her lyrics - understated sermons on strength, courage and wisdom.
November 2, 2001 |
Boz Scaggs, whose quintessentially '70s smash Silk Degrees came out during the Bicentennial, is what is euphemistically referred to as a "heritage artist. " But, as he proved Wednesday at the Keswick, the 57-year-old Bay Area singer is much more interested in pushing new material that, in many cases, makes the case for his timelessness. While Scaggs performed the old hits, including a rousing "Lido Shuffle" and a jazzy romp through "Lowdown," the emphasis was on his recently released Dig. The newer material, though clearly from a different time and place, retained some of the lavishness and casual precision of Scaggs' classics.