Music » Livewire

Jill Scott

Wednesday, March 23, at the State Theatre.

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For more than a few fans, neosoul remains synonymous with Erykah Badu's headwrap and defiantly hippieish duds. But for others -- especially those who remember vintage R&B from the first time around -- the genre has been defined instead by Jill Scott, the Philly poetess who came to prominence after collaborating with hometown heroes the Roots. An elegant rebuttal to the hordes of hip-hop bad girls, Scott's jazz-influenced scatting and spoken asides set her apart, as did the songwriting chops that made her 2000 debut, Who Is Jill Scott?, a question that demanded an answer.

Scott's current Big Beautiful Tour is in support of her second studio album, last year's Beautifully Human, which racked up three R&B Grammy nominations (giving her a career total of eight) and one win (in the Urban/Alternative category, for the song "Cross My Mind"). The disc further separated her from the pack by recapturing not only the grooves of '70s soul, but also with its uplifting vibe on tunes like the shimmering "Golden." That makes it easy to forgive the occasional Oprah-esque positive affirmation and give Scott her due: This is an R&B sound and spirit worth reviving.

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