Concert Review: LEDISI @ the Keswick Theatre w/NOEL GOURDIN on Sat., Dec. 20 - 8:00 PM
(A Beautiful Day In Mr. Davis Neighborhood (Ledisi Makes Philadelphia Bust a Knutt))

Concert Review: LEDISI @ the Keswick Theatre w/NOEL GOURDIN on Sat., Dec. 20 - 8:00 PMThere are a whole lotta reasons in December of 2008 to be "down on the upstroke" instead of being "up on the downstroke." You see, here in the United States, we are currently faced with an avalanche of problems. With two wars, a crumbling economy, a sea of corrupt government & business leaders, etc. we face an uncertain future for sure.

Last night at the Keswick Theatre in Philadelphia featuring LEDISI it was proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that Stevie Wonder was dead on when he told us that MUSIC is indeed the "Key of Life." For me, last night was a whole bunch of "small miracles", that all came together in a way that reinforces those 35 year old words of Stevie Wonder.

LEDISI - I'm not going to review the actual performance here; I'll leave that to Philly Soul-Patrol Coordinator David Brooks ("Dr. Brookenstien") to do. However there was a point during the show where LEDISI said, "yall did the right thing, yall came out here to-night." Her words could not have been more appropriate. We have been with LEDISI at small clubs in NYC long before her current status as a major headliner at venues around the country, on TV and Grammy Award nomeniee. And of course she turned in a GREAT performance for a crowd that in my observation to "Dr. Brookenstien" seemed "subdued", as they walked in to the Keswick. Philadelphia is a tough town perhaps best known for booing Sata Claus at football games. So LEDISI had a tough task in front of her, however she was more than up to that task. In fact I would say that LEDISI made Philadelphia "bust a knutt." And yall know how good it feels to "bust a knutt", when you really need it :)

JUDITH HERBST & THE KESWICK THEATRE - Built in 1928, the Keswick Theatre was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. It reminds me a great deal of the Apollo in NYC, although the physical configuration is a bit different, the Keswick & the Apollo are about the same size. However the most important thing about the Keswick is that the folks who run it understand not only their importance to the music community, but also to the greater community. There was a whole lotta activity going on at the Keswick last night, all of it magnificently coordinated by Judith Herbst. Soul-Patrol has now done 5 events at the Keswick and the staff couldn't be nicer or more helpful in assisting us. We have had both local folks from the Philadelphia area as well as those who have traveled from far away to attend the shows there and all walk away with the same impression. "This is such a nice place for a concert and the people here are so nice." Those two impressions aren't created by accident. That is by design and the person responsible for that design is Judith Herbst. Reading this I am all but certain that Judith is quite embarrassed, but that's just too bad :)

LARRY RICHARDSON - I have known Larry for a number of years. He is one of these people that are on the music scene in every city. He would never be described as a "big time playa", however Larry always has "bigtime ideas." He is a really nice guy, who is a part of the "old school" Philadelphia musical infrastructure but when you see Larry coming, you know that he is gonna have "an idea for you." Last night Larry did something that was a whole lot bigger than any "idea" that he could have proposed, he actually delivered several car loads of children's books to the U.S. - Africa Children's Fellowship, Inc. Of course Larry had some ideas for me last night as well, along with a whole stack of CD's of new music for me to listen to as well, but none of those ideas or music will be as important as the ACTION that Larry & his wife took last night in making the donation.

SOUL-PATROL'S MEET & GREET WITH LEDISI - During the show I had been busy along with David Brooks "working" the Soul-Patrol table in the lobby, passing out information and engaging in dialogue with folks as they came by, some of whom I knew and some that I didn't know. I was also running around handling various tasks related to doing the "meet & greet." One would think that doing a "meet & greet" with LEDISI for Soul-Patrol would be a "no brainer", after all we have done many "meet & greets" with LEDISI over the years in NYC, Chicago & elsewhere. We were one of her earliest supporters, going back nearly a decade. However things are different now then they were when LEDISI was an "unknown indy soul artist." She's now a "major label artist" and as such LEDISI has got a "multi layered management team" in place to handle her business. As we all know from watching the US financial meltdown unfold, a "multi layered management team" isn't always good with communications. As a result, walking into the Keswick last night, I had not gotten 100 percent confirmation via the "management chain" that our advertised "meet & greet" was going to take place. Since I didn't have that confirmation, I told the Soul-Patrollers as they stopped by our table before the show, that the "meet & greet" wouldn't be taking place, because I hadn't worked out all of the "logistics." These folks were disappointed, but they understood. You can imagine my surprise when two members of LEDISI'S management team came up to me at the halfway point of LEDISI'S performance and said "we are all set to do the meet & greet right after the show, just bring your people down to the stage and LEDISI will spend some time with them before meeting the general public." I said 'it's too late, I already told the people that the "meet & greet" was off. Frank Sheffield (a longtime Soul-Patroller) of LEDISI'S team says to me; "Bob let's not be silly, you know damn well that LEDISI wants to meet with your folks, just get your people together and lets do it." Of course "Dr Brookenstien" & I had to scramble to notify people, but all went well we gathered up about 30 of "our people." LEDISI came out, took pictures with everyone who wanted to, and talked about how much Soul-Patrol's support has meant to her over the years. The "meet & greet" actually worked out better than I could have imagined. I smiled, beaming with pride while at the same time realizing that this whole "meet & greet" might not have happened at all. Yes indeed another one of those "small miracles" had just taken place and I have LEDISI'S management team along with Judith Herbst to thank for that.

PHIL SUMPTER & RANDALL GRASS (think global, act local) - Phil Sumpter of the Mann Music Center and Randall Grass of Shanachie Entertainment both attended the show last night along with their wives/significant others. Although these are names that you may not know, both have been big supporters of Soul-Patrol as well as other endeavors of mine and have become friends. They are also pragmatic businessmen in the world of music, who realize that it's not always about "the show." Well after the concert, both of them had "that look in their eyes." I know all too well what "that look is", it's that look that says "I have had a great night, the music was off the hook, the crowd here was much larger than I would have expected, everyone here is enthusiastic, I am here tonight with the most important person in my life and they had a great time." Since I was also there with my family, I knew EXACTLY how they felt. They both told me that I had done a good job in promoting the show online and that coming from two guys who count things like record sales & concert attendance in their sleep was important & humbling to me.

DONNIE C. - Donnie C is an emerging artist, from North Carolina who is a member of Soul-Patrol. Some of you may recall a concert review of a show that Donnie C did in last summer, where he turned in a magnificent marvin gaye/donny hathaway/marlon saunders" type performance, to a crowd of about 30 people at a small "hole in the wall" club in Brooklyn. What neither Donnie C nor I knew at that time was that before the end of the summer, I would lose my father and that he would also lose his mother. Both Donnie C and I have seen our lives change because of these events and I suspect that because we have this in common, we will forever be linked. Well as it turns out, Donnie C has relocated to Philadelphia and of course he was at the Keswick last night to see LEDISI. Before the show, Donnie had a different kind of look in his face, then he had on that summer night last summer in Brooklyn. It is a look that I know quite well from seeing it in my own face in the mirror since my father passed away. It's a look that tells you that a piece of that person is missing and that they are in pain. After the show, Donnie C had a different look on his face. He was smiling and nothing could have pleased me more to see that because you could see that LEDISI had inspired him. I have no doubt that one of these days Donnie C will have nearly 1,000 people come out just to see him perform, just like he saw LEDISI do last night, he is certainly talented enough. But even if it never happens for him, it doesn't matter. What matters is that at least for one night that "empty look" wasn't on his face and today that "empty look" isn't on my face either.

RACHEL DAVIS - Of course Larry Richardson wasn't the only Soul-Patroller who donated to the U.S. - Africa Children's Fellowship, Inc last night, so did my 15 year old Rachel. About a week ago I had informed Rachel that she was going to go thru her old books to see if there were any books that she no longer needed and would willing to donate to the cause. I also informed her that she was going to deliver these books in person at the concert. As a parent as most of you know, whenever you "force a child to do something", you know that there is a certain amount of "risk" involved. You know that the net effect may not always be what you want it to be, so therefore you have to carefully weigh that risk. As soon as the show ended I asked Rachel with some trepidation, what she thought and she said; "DAD I REALLY LIKED THE SHOW, I DIDN'T THINK THAT I WOULD, BUT I'M REALLY GLAD THAT I CAME", I smiled and said; "how would you like to meet LEDISI IN PERSON?" And of course Rachel got to meet LEDISI in person and of course Rachel talked about how great LEDISI was in the car on the way back home. When we got home she asked me for LEDISI'S albums and promptly "ripped them into mp3's" to load into her iPod.

....and then I wake up this morning, open my email and there is a letter from someone who discovered Nu Soul@ RadioIO, via the Flycast Mobile network, via their Blackberry telling me how much they are enjoying the musical presentation. Of course it is the music of LEDISI that is one of the hallmarks & inspiration for the programming of the station. Her music that connects with all demographics, it's the kind of music that Black America used to produce in mass quantities, that seemingly over the past 15 years has forgotten how to produce (at least in the commercial sphere.) "Nu Soul", isn't the "sometimes elitist/wanna be bohemian neo-soul scene", it's REAL SOUL MUSIC, the kind that we thought that we had pushed all the way to the back of the closet and had allowed cobwebs to cover it.

So on today, December 21, 2008 it's a beautiful day in MY neighborhood and all is well with the world.

On some days I don't know if I am a writer, a promoter, a social activist, a technologist, an educator or a broadcaster. On some days it feels like I am all five at the same time. On other days it feels like I am "none of the above."

On this day I feel very much like the character played by James Stewart in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" and all I can tell you is that it's a great feeling and one that I will cherish.

Next up for Soul-Patrol is the FATBACK BAND in NYC on 12/27 where will will find out if FUNK MUSIC still has the power to "heal" in 2008/2009...

--Bob Davis


NEW RELEASE: Ledisi - Lost & Found

Click Here to get more info about UPCOMING RELEASE: Ledisi - Lost & Found Ledisi is an artist that has a long history with Soul-Patrol.com and we have done many events across the United States in various cities with her. However, this new album is the one we have all been waiting for...

This album is on the level of the great female artists of the past. No need to make any comparisons to the Erykah Badu's or Jill Scott's of the world this time. Now it's time to compare Ledisi to the great female song stylists of the past. In no way is this "retro" or "throwback" in any respect whatsoever except for the fact that it's thoroughly listenable from start to finish. In fact to illustrate that point the album is designed much like the book Ulysses, the end of the album puts you right back at the beginning of the album. In other words we finally have an album that tells a coherent story from end to end, just like albums are supposed to.

There aren't any "throwaway" or "filler" tracks here. If you buy the album, you won't feel cheated (like with most Neo Soul" albums) or feel like instead of paying 15 dollars, you should have paid only three dollars because there are only 3 good songs on it. It's actually a great and fully realized concept album full of fresh original songs that will grab you the very first time that you listen. These songs stand alone. They also stand as a collection of artistic gems that link together the full range of female emotions over the course of up's & downs of modern relationships. All of this is anchored by the classic voice and tone of the best and top Indy artists of this century. Ledisi is ready to become a household name and if this album doesn't do it for her, then Black music fans should be ashamed of themselves, because it truly means that they are in a "catatonic state."

Ledisi - "Lost & Found" is an album that you will not only want to rush out and purchase immediately (release date 8/28), but you will also immediately want to encourage your friends to buy it as well. Ask yourself honestly, when was the last time that you felt like that about an album? This album is highly recommended.

--Bob Davis
earthjuice@prodigy.net




LISTEN TO: Ledisi: Lost and Found - 1. Been Here (Intro), 2. Joy, 3. You And Me, 4. Best Friend, 5. Alright, 6. Think Of You, 7. Today, 8. Get To Know You, 9. Upside Down, 10. In the Morning, 11. I Tried, 12. Lost And Found (Find Me), 13. We Are One, 14. The One, 15. Someday, 16. Been Here (Outro)

2007 LEDISI ON TOUR: w/Soul-Patrol.com 2007

Click Here to get more info about UPCOMING RELEASE: Ledisi - Lost & Found As I said at the top, Ledisi is an artist that has a long history with Soul-Patrol.com and we have done many events across the United States in various cities with her.

To celebrate her new release on Verve Records and her entry into the "mainstream", we have multiple concert reviews, literally from "coast to coast" for you from her September 07 Tour... (Bob Davis)


Ledisi in NYC

So, this review is way overdue!!

First, off thanks to Ledisi's publicist, J'ai, who was wonderful enough to give us the cds and set up the meet & greet.

Second, I'd like to thank NYC Soul-Patrollers Greg, Henry, Sandy, Danielle, Baron & friend, Tonya, Kendra, Corrine, Mike, Terry, Rob, Lorena, Denise for coming out.

Ledisi is one of the most talented vocalist out there today. She is also a consummate performer who draws you right in. This is maybe the 4th or 5th show that Soul-Patrol has done with her in NYC and she's been gracious every single time. She came out and told you this show was going to be a "little bit of church and a little bit of juke joint"!!!!! And let me tell you, it most certainly was!!!

Ledisi started out with "Today". This was appropriate, considering it was her cd release party for her 1st cd with a major label. Then she sang "Get Outta My Kitchen" and had the audience rocking. She brought it down some with "Alright" and "Get to Know You". Then we got to the juke joint! She did some singing, whining, grinding, moaning and groaning on "In the Morning"!! Man, people went home all hot and bothered after that version of the song!!! I'm so surprised the sprinklers didn't go off!!!!!!! After that was "Let it go" and "Best Friend". At this point, I'm yelling sing "Yesterday" and she did. She sang with just a guitar accompanying her and I cried. Literally, I cried! First time of the night I got chill bumps.

She started to sing "The One", when it hit her - she's signed to her 1st major label, performing in front of a sold-out show - and Ledisi lost it!! She started to cry and had to turn away and pull herself together. She then had the nerve to apologize to the audience for that awesome display of gratitude and humanity. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Second time of the night I got chill bumps. She finally sang "The One" and closed with "Take Your Time".

When she came out after the show, I let her take some pictures and sign some cds before I grabbed her and said, "Ledisi, my people have to leave". She said "I'm coming right now". I grabbed her arm, dragging her over to our table - all the while acting like a football player (blocking her from people who wanted to say hi), otherwise we would have never had our meet and greet. Ledisi came over, spoke to us, signed cds and I took a picture of her with some of our group. As she was leaving, she stopped, took my hand, looked me dead in my eyes and said "Thank you". I said "You're welcome". She said "No, I mean it, Thank you"!! Third time of the night I got chill bumps. Ledisi thanked ME!!

I was honored to be there for that show, honored to witness her major breakthrough! And, by the way, the crying part was real. She didn't break down in the second show and she didn't sing "Yesterday".

Enough said!

Peace and love,
Cheryl Y. Russell
New York Coordinator - www.soul-patrol.com


LISTEN TO: Ledisi: Lost and Found - 1. Been Here (Intro), 2. Joy, 3. You And Me, 4. Best Friend, 5. Alright, 6. Think Of You, 7. Today, 8. Get To Know You, 9. Upside Down, 10. In the Morning, 11. I Tried, 12. Lost And Found (Find Me), 13. We Are One, 14. The One, 15. Someday, 16. Been Here (Outro)

Ledisi - In Chicago

I've been very quiet lately on this forum for numerous of reasons. I guess I can best sum it up by saying this, I choose to post only when I feel I have the need to say something. Whether someone agrees or disagrees with my thoughts is fine with me. Whether someone gives a damn or not," It's Alright". :-) (Enough said)

I've notice recently that Ledisi's name has been mentioned lately on the forum. Her recent appearance in NY and her latest CD playing on Aoul-Patrol's Radio Listening Room. I first heard about Ledisi about 6 or 7 years ago from a former Soul-Patrol member Cecille Thailey. From that point on, a few of the Soul-Patrol members from Chicago have been following her career since. We've talked about her many times on Soul-Patrol. Some folks got it, others didn't. (their loss, our gain) So she's not a new artist that just popped up recently. She's been making buzz recently in Vibe and Sister to Sister magazine.

Last night, Ledisi was in Chicago for a special event. It was part of a series put together by a gentleman named Dedry Jones. He would interview a artist one on one and let them tell their story in front of the audience. There was a lot of things I didn't know about Ledisi, like her being the granddaughter of R&B vocalist Johnny Ace. Another thing I didn't know was how she turned down Broadway roles like "The Color Purple" and the role of Effie in the film Dreamgirls, (that later went to Jennifer Hudson) just to put out her latest CD "Lost and Found".

I haven't been in the listening room nor do I know how anyone on the forum really thinks about the CD. Part of the event last night was everyone given a copy of her latest CD with the admission to th event. (which was only $20.00)

I've listened to the CD "Lost and Found" today and I'm not by any means disappointed. Reason being, I know what to expect out of Ledisi. Did you know that her 2 independent released CD's are out of print. Her "Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue" CD sells for around $100.00 used. She also mentioned how Chaka Khan has embraced her, and are in talks about working together soon.

She performed 2 songs from the latest CD, "Lost and Found" with a local musician. "Upside Down","Aright" and a different and humorous rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools". By the way, Aretha is a Ledisi fan. :-)

I don't know nor do I really care if mainstream radio is playing her music. I've been playing her music and I'm not involved with mainstream radio. As a matter of fact, I'll be playing a track from her CD later this afternoon on my radio show.

Debra Walker and I attended the near sold out event and had Ledisi autograph the CD. Ledisi is very down to earth and she remembers us from the first time we saw her about 6 or 7 years ago.


I'm glad to see that some folks are starting to hear her music, but she's been in the business for 12 years. She seems very happy and pleased with Verve, for giving her the chance to be a artist on their label.

I wish her all the luck and can't wait to for her to return back to Chicago, before the year is over.

That's all I have. (Hate it or love it!)

--Gary Tyson (WHPK - Chicago)


LISTEN TO: Ledisi: Lost and Found - 1. Been Here (Intro), 2. Joy, 3. You And Me, 4. Best Friend, 5. Alright, 6. Think Of You, 7. Today, 8. Get To Know You, 9. Upside Down, 10. In the Morning, 11. I Tried, 12. Lost And Found (Find Me), 13. We Are One, 14. The One, 15. Someday, 16. Been Here (Outro)

Ledisi In California

This review of the Russian River Jazz Festival last week in Guerneville, Ca. comes from our own T. Watts: Panel moderator extrodinaire, Journalist, Broadcaster, & Activist
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2007 Russian River Jazz Festival

The 31rst annual Russian River Jazz Festival was held on Saturday & Sunday September 8 & 9 at Johnson's Beach in Guerneville, Cali. The Saturday lineup included Ledisi, Poncho Sanchez, Boney James and Chaka Khan.


Ledisi, the Bay Area's and African American musical community's best kept secret is finally getting her much deserved respect with the release of her Verve CD, Lost & Found, which hit the stores on 8/28/07.

Ms. Ma'am had the curse of opening this year's festivities as the fickle, Russian River crowd was settling in, jockeying for pole position and generally being ho-hum about the extraordinary goings on onstage. She kiddingly chided the crowd about being chillingly conservative, to the strains of "Today", from the new CD. As she perceived the crowd still wasn't getting it, she remarked, "That's OK, we'll just play for me and the band" Ledisi blows. That's the way she rolls. Encompassing Gospel, Latin Grooves, The Funk, whole jazz dialogs in scatting tongues. She stylishly mixed in the new grooves with material from her prior albums.


The crowd couldn't help but eventually come around during the last half hour of Ledisi's smolderingly hot set. When the crowd was finally feelin' it she opened up with patter about the struggle to make it.

"You know, I gave it my all for 12 years. I was about to give up. They wouldn't let me in the club. I knew I was good enough. And just when I was gonna walk away, God opened the door."

Then our sister did her dance. Jokingly, she peered down at the crowd and inquired, "Why y'all lookin' at me like that? You never saw an African move before"?

Ledisi also performed very credible covers of Tina Marie's "Portuguese Love" and "Yesterday" by the Beatles. She closed her 90 minute set with "Take Time" from her first CD. "For the working people", she declared. The Oaktown Diva then left the stage to a rousing standing ovation and graciously sat at the artist's booth for autographs. As Curtis Mayfield sang and wrote: The Woman's Got Soul!

--Tee Watts


LISTEN TO: Ledisi: Lost and Found - 1. Been Here (Intro), 2. Joy, 3. You And Me, 4. Best Friend, 5. Alright, 6. Think Of You, 7. Today, 8. Get To Know You, 9. Upside Down, 10. In the Morning, 11. I Tried, 12. Lost And Found (Find Me), 13. We Are One, 14. The One, 15. Someday, 16. Been Here (Outro)

--Bob Davis
earthjuice@prodigy.net



Concert Review: Ledisi at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, Seattle, WA August 1st and 2nd, 2006


A question that inevitably comes up in this day and age where electronically pitch corrected vocals seems to be a pre-requisite for any "hit" Pop or R&B song, is "what happened to all the REAL singers?" Yes, we still have Aretha, Chaka, Gladys, Patti and Mavis with us among other great singers from back in the day. But who will carry the torch when they're gone?

If you've taken time to dig below the surface, you probably know about Lalah Hathaway and Rachelle Ferrell, you're probably checking artists like Jill Scott and Erykah Badu as well. Sadly, the art of great singing (or playing instruments for that matter) has fell by
the wayside to some degree. But even so, there are still a few shining stars out there and one of them is LEDISI.

Ledisi and her band performed at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley here in Seattle this past Tuesday and Wednesday. I've been a fan for several years and I've seen her live a few times before, so I knew what to expect and because of that I wasn't going to miss either of the two nights!

On each night Ledisi and her band kicked off the set with her own interpretation of Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon." One of the things I love about Ledisi, is that she does a great job of making other people's songs her own. When performing Chameleon, her band laid down a funky groove reminiscent of the original, but it had a little more of a swing to it. Ledisi than scatted the original melody and launched into a verse of her own: "If we all had no eyes / We could not see / Then color wouldn't matter to you or me / All we could do is feel our way. / Times are changing every day, so those that are left in the past / close your eyes and just feel." From just reading the lyrics, it might be difficult to imagine how they would sound, but they were delivered with soul and conviction.

After "Chameleon," Ledisi did her own take on Stevie Wonder's "Where Were You When I Needed You" (the second part of the song "Superwoman"). Let's be real, it's hard to do Stevie and make it sound fresh, but once again Ledisi made the song her own, passionately belting out Stevie's verses like they were hers.

Stevie's version will always be the definitive recording, but I hope Ledisi records this song and releases it some day because her rendition is worthy of preservation too.

One thing that is unique about Ledisi is that she truly treats her voice like an instrument. She is a great soul singer and she is a proficient jazz singer. She loves to scat and make quirky sounds with her voice and she uses dynamics to great effect. I believe that one of the reasons that she wasn't scooped up by a major label years ago is that they don't quite know what to make of her. Her first record "Soulsinger" is all R&B songs, but it's obvious from listening the record that she's a jazz head too. The title song has a funky modern soul groove that reminds me of Me'Shell NdegeOcello's first record, but Ledisi is scatting up a storm like Ella through much of the track.

On the first night of her recent Seattle visit in particular, Ledisi showcased her jazz chops in the early portion of her set doing standards including "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise", "Straight, No Chaser" and "In A Sentimental Mood." She sang most of "Straight, No Chaser" a cappella with longtime drummer Tommy Bradford coming in to accompany her near the end of the song.

Early on in the set, Ledisi proclaimed to the crowd that she sings to please herself, not anybody else and issued an apologetic warning to let us know that she liked to get funky and has a tendency to get a bit "raunchy." She said she hoped that everybody would enjoy the show, but she had to be herself so she told everyone to "hold onto your wigs." Though it was clear that she was singing for herself and having a blast doing it, she is clearly sensitive to her environment and conscious of who is in the crowd as well (which is why she included the jazzier numbers near the beginning of the set).

Dimitriou's Jazz Alley is a restaurant as well as a music venue and unless the artist performing on a given night is popular enough to sell out way in advance, there are always people in the crowd that just go there to have dinner and experience some live jazz music. The venue seemed to be at around 50% capacity for these shows and maybe _ of the crowd or less was familiar with her music. Some of the people definitely appeared to be out of there element and she got some "deer in the headlights" type looks. Ledisi knew that she was not exactly what the "dinner jazz" crowd had ordered, but she had a great time with it. Several times during the show she poked fun at the "conservatives" in the crowd and told them "don't be scurred!"

After all of the standards, she went into her own song "So Right", the opening cut on her second CD "Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue." "So Right" is a song about good love. I think this may have been what she referred to as the "raunchy" part of her set. Though the song opens with Ledisi making vocal sounds with heavy breathing and it is clearly a very sexual song, neither the song nor the performance was distasteful (no profanity or anything graphic). As part of the performance, Ledisi talked about being in love with the
right person and demonstrated various walks that people make when they're in love. She also preached about being in a relationship with the wrong person and encouraged people in relationships that were not working out to throw in the towel so that they could get to
work on the task of finding the right person. When she performed the song on the second night she really stressed that and joked "somebody's gonna be MAD with ME tonight!" (for encouraging their partner to end their relationship that wasn't working.)

One of the funkiest songs she performed was "Get Outta My Kitchen" from her first CD. The song is a message telling people to mind their own business: "Get outta my kitchen / tellin' me how to cook / ain't none of your business / ain't no need to look." When she performed "Get Outta My Kitchen" she had her band break it down and she taught the audience the lyrics using different dialects. She did a "ghetto" version of the hook with a lot of attitude, a version for the men (she sang in a very deep, relaxed voice to demonstrate that men could still sing it and be cool) and then she did a "conservative" version where she sang like a white woman without much soul singing the song.
She told all of the people that weren't familiar with her music to find a copy of her CD and then she pretended like she was an audience member singing the song in the mirror to get prepared for the next time she comes to town.

Though there weren't any kind of costumes or stage props, Ledisi is very theatrical in her performances. She has performed on Broadway and from seeing her show, it's clear that she has the talent for that. She is also flat out hilarious at times. When she performed
"You" a new song which she said she plans to include on her upcoming Verve Records release, she told us that she had originally written the song for Anita Baker, but she decided to keep it for herself.

Then she went on to sing the song as Anita would sing it, complete with the type of facial expressions Anita would likely make when performing. Though she was clearly doing the impersonation out of love rather than mocking her, she also kind of treaded toward the
line in between the two, which made it all the more funny. You'd have to see it to fully appreciate it, but she had the whole crowd rolling.

One of the most memorable songs from each Ledisi show I have seen was her performance of "Take Time." The song is about making the most out of your life and she dedicates the song to "all of the working people" in the crowd. One of the lyrics from the song is "So much pressure, need to run and hide. / Get tired of the days passing you by / You wanna find a place to escape / It's your life, you gotta do whatever it takes." When she performed the song she told the crowd that she worked the same job for 12 years, had a house and a car, but she wasn't happy. So she quit her job and "took a leap" to embark on her musical career. More recently, she left the Bay Area (where she built up her reputation as a performer) for New York and slept on floors to appear on Broadway.

She has a great routine she does during this song where she makes percussive sound effects and moves her hands up and down like she's running to get to a job, looks at her watch to see if she is running late, makes typing motions, stops to say "hi" to people, answers the telephone. She'll say something like "Hi! How ya doing?" in a pleasant happy voice, then she'll turn to the side and roll her eyes as if to indicate that she couldn't stand the person she was exchanging pleasantries with. It was quite funny, but it all helped support the serious, uplifting message behind the song. She was careful not to suggest that everybody quit their jobs like she did, but she encouraged everyone to "Take Time" to do something that they love, to "write a book" or "start that business you want to start." "Take Time" was the finale of her formal set, but the crowd kept cheering for an encore, so she came back to perform "Good Lovin' (another original song from her first CD). During "Good Lovin" she motioned everybody to get up on their feet and everybody got out of the chairs and shook their butts. It was a fitting conclusion to a great evening of music.

Okay, so I've said a lot about Ledisi and her performance, but did I mention that she's got a band that can really throw down behind her too? Her drummer Tommy Bradford was very tight and in the pocket. He was also her musical director and did a great job of holding everything together. He was always right there with the other players, hitting accents to compliment the bass lines and keyboard riffs from the songs, or just following and anticipating rhythms when backing up other players during solos. Tommy has been playing with Ledisi at least since the release of her debut CD in 2000 and it's easy to see why she has kept him around.

Mike Blankenship on keyboards was also spectacular. Ledisi's former keyboardist Sundra Manning left some deep shoes to fill, but Mike is just what the doctor ordered. He was smooth, funky and soulful like you wouldn't believe with jazz chops to spare.

Troy Lampkin on 6 string bass was also incredible as well. He held down the bottom firmly and also threw in some tasteful harmonies and middle to upper register that filled out the trio nicely.

Each of the band members was prominently featured in solos, and each did duets with Ledisi without the other band members. As I mentioned earlier, Tommy played behind Ledisi on "Straight, No Chaser." In addition, Mike Blankenship accompanied her on a beautiful rendition of the Beatle's "Yesterday" and Troy Lampkin supported her on "In A Sentimental Mood."

Needless to say, I would highly recommend that anybody that loves good soul and jazz music go see her whenever you have the opportunity. I've seen her play a few different times surrounded by different groups of musicians. She always has great people with her and puts on a superb show. A list of upcoming events can be found at her Web site: http://www.ledisi.com/

Unfortunately, Ledisi's recorded music is somewhat difficult to track down right now. She has released two full length CDs independently and she's sold over 100,000 records between the two releases. Her first CD, "Soulsinger" (2000) was re-released through Tommy Boy distribution in 2003. However, the company went under shortly thereafter and Ledisi's recorded music has been largely unavailable ever since. Apparently the demand for her music was high enough that distributing it independently was a huge task, but she had trouble finding a distributor to get her CDs out there properly. She recently signed a deal with Verve Records and is scheduled to release a new CD sometime in 2007, so hopefully some of her music will be easy to find sometime next year. In the meantime, you can find her previous CDs on eBay, but be advised that the demand is much greater than the supply right now. Her second CD "Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue" has been known to fetch more than $100 because it was only released as a limited edition. Her first CD "Soulsinger" is much more obtainable, but it goes for well over $20 on eBay and is hard to find elsewhere.

You can also find performances by Ledisi on a few CDs that are readily available. She appears on Raphael Saadiq's "All Hits at the House of Blues" as a guest vocalist on the song "Different Times." On the Luther Vandross tribute album "Forever, For Always, For Luther" she performs "My Sensitivity." She also performs a song called "I Can't Let You Go" on Steve "The Scotsman" Harvey's CD "Everyday People Volume 1" (available as an import from the UK).

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Mike Theiss
http://www.miketheiss.com/





LISTEN TO: Ledisi: Lost and Found - 1. Been Here (Intro), 2. Joy, 3. You And Me, 4. Best Friend, 5. Alright, 6. Think Of You, 7. Today, 8. Get To Know You, 9. Upside Down, 10. In the Morning, 11. I Tried, 12. Lost And Found (Find Me), 13. We Are One, 14. The One, 15. Someday, 16. Been Here (Outro)



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