Meshell Ndegeocello Releases New Single “Love” (Listen)

The new single is driven by her deep bass grooves and soulful vocals

Meshell Ndegeocello Releases New Single “Love” (Listen)

The new single is driven by her deep bass grooves and soulful vocals

Meshell Ndegeocello has released the inspiriting new single “Love,” the second song to be revealed from her forthcoming Blue Note album No More Water: The Gospel Of James Baldwin, a striking homage to the eminent writer and activist James Baldwin to be released Aug. 2 on his Centennial. Ndegeocello will be marking the album release with a headline performance at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival on Aug. 2. Ndegeocello performs songs from the new album on an upcoming Tiny Desk Concert coming soon as part of NPR Music’s Black Music Month celebration of Black women artists. Last month saw the release of the album’s opening track “Travel” paired with the searing spoken word piece “Raise The Roof” by poet Staceyann Chin.

No More Water is a visionary work that is at once a musical experience, a church service, a celebration, a testimonial, and a call to action. Ndegeocello has created a prophetic musical odyssey that transcends boundaries and genres, delving headfirst into race, sexuality, religion, and other recurring themes explored in Baldwin’s canon. Following 2023’s The Omnichord Real Book, her acclaimed Blue Note debut which won the inaugural GRAMMY Award for Best Alternative Jazz Album, the multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer renders an immersive and palpable document that is as sagacious, unabashed, and introspective as Baldwin was in life.

Co-produced by Ndegeocello and guitarist Chris Bruce, No More Water features some of the bassist’s frequent collaborators including Bruce, vocalist Justin Hicks, saxophonist (and Omnichord producer) Josh Johnson, keyboardist Jebin Bruni, and drummer Abe Rounds. Also appearing on various songs are vocalist Kenita-Miller Hicks, keyboardists Jake Sherman and Julius Rodriguez, and Executive Director of the NYCPS Arts Office and trumpeter Paul Thompson. The album also showcases powerful spoken word by venerated poet Staceyann Chin and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and critic Hilton Als.

Nearly a decade in the making, the album’s origins began in 2016 during a performance at The Harlem Stage Gatehouse as part of their annual showcase honoring Baldwin. Ndegeocello had delved into Baldwin’s work the year before, including the seminal nonfiction work The Fire Next Time, which she considers “life-changing” and carries with her as a “spiritual text.” Ndegeocello says, “It was just a revelation to me, and it softened my heart in so many ways.”

“Inspired by Baldwin’s most well-known essay, Ndegeocello’s piece—often staged as a church service—employs music, sermon, text, images, and movement, all of which enter into conversation with Baldwin’s monumental and delicate essay about how black bodies were perceived not only by white Americans but by blacks themselves,” writes Als in the album’s liner notes. “The music you hear in No More Water, is Jimmy talking to Meshell and his words meeting the language of her sounds and then coming out again through a multitude of voices, a multitude of sounds and thoughts that bring Jimmy back and give him—finally—his whole and true self, that which he offered up, time and again, if only we knew then how to listen.”

No More Water marks a significant moment of self-discovery for Ndegeocello. She adds that Baldwin entered her life at precisely the right time. “It came when I was ready to look in the mirror. I’ve had to play Plantation Lullabies at a few shows. Looking back, I had an interesting perspective, but the dialogue was limited. It was more like a cathartic experience for a young person of color, whereas now I’m going, ‘How can I get us all to love each other? How can I get us all to see this for what it is?’”

MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO – TOUR DATES:

July 5 – Love Supreme Festival – East Sussex, United Kingdom

July 7 – Casa del Jazz – Rome, Italy

July 8 – Bremen Theater – Copenhagen, Denmark

July 10 – Marseille Jazz des Cinq Continents – Marseille, France

July 12-14 – North Sea Jazz Festival “Artist In Residence” – Rotterdam, Netherlands

July 16 – Jazz a Sete Festival – Sete, France

July 19 – Festival Jazz en Ville – Vannes, France

July 21 – Stuttgart Jazz Open Festival – Stuttgart, Germany

July 23 – Jazz in Marciac – Marciac, France

Aug. 2 – BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn – Brooklyn, NY

Aug. 4 – Newport Jazz Festival – Newport, RI

Aug. 7 – Denver Botanic Gardens – Denver, CO

Aug. 8 – Ravinia Festival – Highland Park, IL

Sept. 15 – New Mexico Jazz Festival – Santa Fe, NM

Sept. 16 – MIM – Phoenix, AZ

Sept. 20 – The Center for the Arts at the Armory – Somerville, MA

Sept. 21 – Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center – Albany, NY

Sept. 22 – Wexner Center for the Arts – Columbus, OH

Sept. 26 – Infinite Dream Festival – Iowa City, IA

Sept. 28 – Wisconsin Union Theater – Madison, WI

Sept. 29 – Door Community Auditorium – Fish Creek, WI

Oct. 3 – World Café Live – Philadelphia, PA

Oct. 5 – The Music Center at Strathmore – North Bethesda, MD

Oct. 6 – New Jersey Performing Arts Center – Newark, NJ

Oct. 31 – JazzOnze+ Festival Lausanne – Lausanne, Switzerland

Nov. 1 – Enjoy Jazz-Alte Feuerwache – Mannheim, Germany

Nov. 3-4 – Stadtgarten Konzertsaal – Cologne, Germany

Nov. 6-7 – Musikbrauerei – Berlin, Germany

Nov. 9 – Rockit Festival – Groningen, Netherlands

Nov. 10 – Le Guess Who? Festival – Utrecht, Netherlands

Nov. 11 – De Roma – Antwerp, Belgium

Nov. 12-13 – New Morning – Paris, France

Nov. 15 – Koko – London, United Kingdom

Dec. 2-5 – Jazz Alley – Seattle, WA

Nov. 7 – Walter Art Center – Minneapolis, MN

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Bass Magazine   By: Bass Magazine