I literally just returned from a screening of the Jill Scott: Live in Paris DVD. The amazing show opened with a brief documentary introducing us to French musicians and fans expressing their love for Jill and her music. Then the Paris concert began at what appeared to be a French version of our House of Blues, called the Elysee Monmartre.
As Fatback Taffy, the band, rocked out to Is it the Way Jill simply stepped on stage dressed in a funky white jacket, a brown t-shirt decorated by a woman's large, sparkling 'fro, and casual dark pants and shoes. With her natural hair pulled back and up into one large afro puff, she appeared like a very young woman at the start of her career. But once the first note spilled past her lips, all childish notions were put away.
The adoring crowd was an interesting mix of Paris' cultural diversity. Just as we do here, they sang the words to Jill's songs enthusiastically even when she stopped briefly. And just like in American crowds, there's always that one shouting instructions to the performer between songs. Yet, ironically the moments that really captured the essence of Jill, not just as an artist but as a woman and a poet, happened when she wasn't singing at all.
After performing Rasool, a song about a young man whose bad choices led to his death, she delivered a heartfelt message to brothers caught up in the game. Then when fan favorite, Lyzel in E Flat, was performed, tears fell again. This time, the reason not so obvious. I guessed that maybe the muse for that special love song was gone and the pain of that loss was still present. As most know, Jill is now divorced. Yet, she smiled through it, wiping away tears as she performed an upbeat version of the love song that has become the signature close of her show. Beautifully Human, that indeed you are Ms. Jill.
Overall the show was great and the sound quality amazing. Different camera angles and creative editing gave it good pacing--not that you need to rush when Jill's singing! However, to some the various graphic edits may appear overdone. Interestingly, the more I watched the show, the more I was reminded of Sade's last concert DVD, Lovers Live.
After the screening I asked Co-Executive Producer, Thianar Gomis, how the Jill Scott: Live In Paris came about and what the R&B scene was like in Paris.