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Ledisi @ B.B. King Blues Club & Grill 3/28/2010

When two-time Grammy nominee Ledisi performs, one should expect a LOT in terms of showmanship, energy and sex appeal. Performing for two sold-out shows on her birthday at B.B. King’s had to be an amazing feeling for the New Orleans-born, Oakland-based singer. Having seen the artist twice in five-months; the night was especially thrilling for me.

Energized and ready to go, at the top of the show Ledisi unexpectedly walked through the crowd blasting folks for showing up late: “Excuse me, ya’ll should’ve got here on time,” she said while passing by and waving to those of us seated at tables.

Though the night was filled with dancing, shouting, and testifying; its mood was definitely geared toward the positive, uplifting and expressive side. She shared her struggles as a then up-and-coming artist in the early 00’s and how she almost gave up her dream of becoming a singer. However, her rock-energy, juke joint sensibilities (think: provocative dance moves) and blues storytelling kind of overshadowed the message. Then again, I don’t think she really cared (and honestly, neither did we).

But as the quintessential artist, it was obvious that she also wanted to please not only her R&B fans but her jazz lovers as well. She performed tracks from all of her albums: her latest, Turn Me Loose; her jazz-influenced holiday LP, It’s Christmas; Lost and Found from 2007; as well as the independent releases, Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue (2002) and Soulsinger (2000). She even delighted us with a five-minute scat – accapella style.

Nevertheless, the set list included “Everything Changes,” “Turn Me Loose,” “Higher Than This,” “Get To Know You,” “Think of You,” and of course, the well-loved tale of woe, “In The Morning.”

For more about Ledisi, visit www.ledisi.com or follow her on Twitter @ledisi.

ND McCray

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