Jill Scott - The Light of the Sun
As with many R'n'B and soul artists, Jill Scott's profile here in the UK is significantly less, well, significant than it is in the States. The multiple Grammy winner has recently released her fourth studio album, following some tumultuous years that have seen her fighting legal battles with her former label, criticised for seemingly racist remarks, and dealing with personal upheaval in her love life. Such a brew is surely the perfect paving for a revelatory, career high album that could even get her noticed in the UK? Well, yes and no. The Light Of The Sun is a solid album but, like many of the genre, suffers from being overlong. With some of the chaff cut, namely cringeworthy stab at late night sensuality 'Until Then' and one too many fillers at the end, Sun really shines. Scott's voice is effortlessly soulful and versatile, ranging from gospel inflections on finale 'Rolling Hills' to poetic spoken-word on 'Womanifesto', while production by JR Hutson confidently balances Scott's traditional influences with her contemporary leanings. Take buzz single 'Shame', which is in debt to Songs In The Key Of Life-era Stevie, but struts with a 21st century swagger and is backed by a rap courtesy of Eve. 'All Cried Out Redux' and 'Le BOOM Vent Suite' are refreshingly ambitious and not without quirks, while Anthony Hamilton duet 'So In Love' is unashamedly old-school. Cries of "Leona who?" should be the reaction to understated, caterwaul-free ballad 'Hear My Call', but the successes of this album probably won't translate into The Light Of The Sun lighting up UK charts.