Meshell Ndegeocello, Deep Blue Field | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Meshell Ndegeocello, Deep Blue Field 

When: Fri., Oct. 16, 7 & 10 p.m. 2009
Price: $30, $28 members, $26 seniors and kids
For quite a few years after her variegated 1993 debut, Plantation Lullabies, Meshell Ndegeocello seemed to have a real shot at commercial success, but rather than reach for the brass ring she's always stuck to her own circuitous path. The singer, songwriter, and virtuoso electric bassist orbits several centers of gravity—rock, funk, soul, jazz, pop, hip-hop—and never ends up in the same place twice. One album might be straight-up jazz, the next a collection of romantically fraught soul-rock ballads. Given that context, the fine new Devil's Halo (Mercer Street), with its unusually stripped-down quartet arrangements and relatively concise songs, doesn't seem like a radical departure, just one more example of her restlessness. The tunes mix and match soul, hip-hop, and progressive rock, and guitarist Chris Bruce contributes kaleidoscopic chords, ghostly atmospherics, and driving riffs, allowing Ndegeocello to concentrate on her rich but unadorned singing. This show is part of the Decibelle Music and Culture Festival. —Peter Margasak

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