Published Sep 01, 2004Jill Scott is the truth. Those ignorant to that reality most likely weren't in attendance at her recent buzz tour in Toronto. Delightfully elliptical, passionately spiritual and refreshingly personable, Jilly from Philly connects to a concert crowd in a way few can. The set was short but sweet. Book-ended by familiar hits from her seminal 2000 debut, Who Is Jill Scott?, a noticeably slimmer Scott took the wraps off new cuts from her anticipated sophomore release, Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2. In the four years since we were introduced to her, she's achieved well deserved critical and popular recognition. Despite the heights she's attained, Scott still appears unflinchingly real and down to earth. This is reflected in the music. Even with a minimalist version of her Fatback Taffy band, the new songs resonate more deeply, the rhythms are more pliant and the lyrics are more comfortable this time around. Unlike most of her neo-soul sistren, the singer-songwriter not only cites blues, jazz, gospel and classic soul as major influences, she acts as a conduit, stealthily segueing between genres. So you experience her zest for life with "Golden"; you connect with the impassioned plea for brothers to step up to the plate and help sisters out in "The Fact Is (We Need You)"; you're overwhelmed by her love for her man with "Whatever"; you're empathic when she tears up performing an ode to a childhood friend and all those that have succumbed to street life in "Rasool." And you cheer when she not so-subtly rips into the Bush administration with "My Petition." But most of all, you sing along when she commands you to, resulting in a slightly off-kilter but heady chorus that Scott feeds off of, serenading the packed house and sending them home feeling empowered, enlightened and emboldened to snap up her latest body of work.