When it comes to both her recorded catalogue and live performance, describing the creative prowess of Jill Scott proves to be a nearly impossible task. The R&B singer, whose debut album Who Is Jill Scott: Words and Sounds Vol. 1 caught the music world off guard 20 years ago, embodies a plethora of juxtapositions. She is soulful yet languid, lusty yet chaste. In short, Scott effortlessly captures the multidimensional nature of black womanhood. At Boston’s House of Blues this past Wednesday night (August 21), she wasn’t just dynamic: She reminded us that she was simply born to be an entertainer.
Opening with the invigorating and grandiose “Gimme,” Scott — complete with a full live band and a trio of male backup singers — nestled nicely in her hyperbolic persona. For “The Real Thing” she went full on sex goddess; she delivered “Can’t Wait” with old school Motown flair. Scott was all smiles for “The Way” and when she dived into her smash hit “So In Love” featuring the unparalleled Anthony Hamilton, one of her singers was presented with the opportunity to fill his shoes. Jill Scott beams on the stage; her free flowing afro was a bold reminder of her unapologetic and natural beauty.
Her confidence was both comforting and admirable. She even admitted that she loves the woman she is now more than the 25-year-old version of herself. “Hate On Me,” the boisterous anthem celebrating the attention from your most notable doubters, was a refreshing and flawless gem. “A Long Walk” was the most enthralling and perhaps memorable moment of the night; everyone in attendance could not wait to belt out the lyrics with utter bombast and joy.
The operatic musings of “He Loves Me” were transcendental; Scott certainly knows how to masterfully employ the elasticity of her voice. She chose to end the evening on an optimistic note by giving us the luminous “Golden” and the solacing “Blessed.” Both songs were affirmations of positivity, resilience and elation.
Scott has been serving us sensitive balladry, poetic storytelling and cosmic jazz sounds for the last two decades. Wednesday night made it clear that the artist is just now hitting her stride.