I liked jazz growing up, but some of the intricacies of a tune's "pocket" were lost on me. I was young then, and foolish, and I hadn't yet heard Meshell Ndegeocello (whose official website no longer refers to her as Me'Shell Ndegéocello). But then I finally discovered her, and in so doing discovered what groove really was. And now, so can you!
I put this track in the Open Thread last week, but now that we're doing Soundtrack posts, I thought I would give it a bit more space. This track, "The Way," is the second one off of Meshell's 1996 album "Peace Beyond Passion," which remains my favorite of hers. (This is saying something, since all of her records are incredible, and her recent stuff is particularly swell.)
The album features what even a layman would call a "sick band"—including Gene Lake on drums, Dave Fiuczynski (of the fretless guitar and the Screaming Headless Torsos) on guitar, Luis Conte on percussion, and the one and only Joshua Redman on sax. This track doesn't feature those first two guys—Fiuczynski doesn't turn up until later, and the drum track, for all its groove, is actually a programmed drum machine. Towards the end of the track, Redman turns up to lay down an appropriately stanky wah-wah sax solo, which means that he's run his tenor sax through a guitar wah-wah pedal to get a more Shafty sound.
But the real star of this track is Meshell herself, laying down some ridiculously slick bass lines while pushing out provocative lyrics in her usual speak-singing-rapping style.
God so loved the world he gave his only son
But many mothers bear children martyrs of greed bitter love
While the so called chosen make war
So many suffer in the name of god their faith at a closed door