To be honest, I’m not normally a huge fan of jazz/soul/rap albums, but this one is a definite exception. Recorded live in 1997, it encompasses all the things I love about music – beautifully written songs, groove by the bucketload, and incredible musicianship.
The star of the show for me is drummer Charles “Poogie” Bell, who keeps it very simple throughout, but it’s what he DOESN’T play that makes it special. Some drummers would be all over this album, with monster fills and complex beats. But Poogie lays down a bottomless groove, and only fills when the music NEEDS it. Check out “Rimshot (Intro)”, based upon Miles Davis’ ‘So What’. What he plays on the bass drum, snare and hi-hat is absolutely gorgeous, and it sounds like he could sit on that simple beat for hours on end and I don’t think I’d ever get tired of listening to him.
The rest of the band are just as tight, and the bass and drums in particular lock together to make such a solid foundation for Erykah’s strong and soulful vocals.