- MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO
"Neil Armstrong ain't got shit on Meshell Ndegeocello," says devout Ndegeocello fan "Q-Dan" as we peruse the jazz offerings at Everyday Music on 10th Avenue. The Q stands for Question Everything. "What did Armstrong do?" he continues. "Sit in a cockpit? Land on the moon? Meshell made the moon. She would have landed that spacecraft while playing some Herbie Hancock jam like 'Rockit' on the bass at the same time." I'm not sure the Armstrong/Ndegeocello comparison equates, but I'm not arguing. Ndegeocello does indeed paint planetary bodies with her bass sounds. Warm, stout, otherworldly, and dexterous bass sounds, with tones dipping into soul, jazz, hiphop, dub, rock, and funk. In the land of bass, Ndegeocello is a citrine baron. Her 11th album, Comet, Come to Me (out June 3), flashes all sides of her 10-time-Grammy-nominated sovereignty. One highlight is the clockwork, fractalized cover of Whodini's "Friends." Its ice-picked, staccato phrasing spreads and climbs opposite slathered, burnt-orange synthesizer. Ndegeocello's voice, handsome and silvery, turns the words out from rotating instrument cogs. Lines intersect, step up, then fall back into working negative space. It's open and tight, like the moon. Ndegeocello spoke from her sound check at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia.