On her debut, Who Is Jill Scott?, the titular Philly native pens love-themed sonnets that could get her hired as a writer for Hallmark's Mahogany line. Even so, just when you're about to pigeonhole Scott as a too-smooth sapstress, she spews lines like, "I been a lady up till now/Don't know how much more I can take/Queens shouldn't swing (if you know what I mean)/But I'm 'bout ta take my earrings off/Get me some Vaseline."
Tough talk from someone who revels in dreamy imagery of "places where butterflies rest easy," but Scott is a diverse artist, in both her delivery and her subject matter. Over jazz-inflected backdrops so spiritual they're damn near gospel, Scott shifts seamlessly from spoken word to melody, occasionally engaging in jazz-divastyle scatting and crooning. This relentlessly romantic album borders on redundancy, but hearing Scott gush is far more intriguing than listening to R&B's court jesters bicker endlessly about failed relationships.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.