Meshell Ndegeocello to Bring Inventive Ventriloquism to the Ford

From the mind-blowing moment she made her explosive debut with Plantation Lullabies (1993), Meshell Ndegeocello's bracing jazz-inflected funk music, deeply penetrating lyrics, bold LGBTQ stance and sensual boudoir swagger have made her that best kept secret that folks like to keep on the top shelf of their musical spice rack. On Saturday July 13, Meshell will bring her virtuosic quartet to the Ford for a summer night of music under the stars, culled from favorites of her 25 years of recording, with a special emphasis on her most recent 2018 album, Ventriloquism

An instant classic, Ventriloquism is an 11-song collection of masterful, often completely upending arrangements of soul music hits from the `80s and `90s, such as Sade’s “Smooth Operator,” George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog,” Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer” and the immortal Prince classic “Sometimes it Snows in April.” Ever inventive, Meshell carves invitingly fresh perspectives that take the black radio staples down acoustic country roads, dark, trippy industrial music dives, turn-of-the-century cabaret élan, and stone-washed celestial moods. Regarding Ventriloquism, Meshell states, “The reimaging deconstructs and comments on the narrow expectation of sound and structure for black artists and black music, while offering a musical refuge during these uncertain times.”
Longtime fans of Meshell will be elated to learn that because she is working in a tight-knit quartet with Chris Bruce on guitar, Jebin Bruni on keyboards and Abe Rounds on drums, she will be playing a lot more electric bass. Of the bass she states, “I do play others, but the bass is really my instrument. I’ve been connected to it since I started playing music. It’s where I always find my clearest musical voice within a band. I love to play piano and that’s useful for writing, but bass is where it started.”
The outdoor environs of the Ford are sure to coax extra memorable performances from Meshell and her band. Reflecting on past alfresco concerts, she shares, “I love an amphitheatre, anything outdoors that still feels intimate and contained.”
Tickets to this one-night-only opportunity to catch Meshell Ndegeocello at the Ford Theatres are going fast… Tickets and info can be found here.
by A. Scott Galloway