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Meshell Ndegeocello - Need recommendations...

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Grahams Groove, Apr 14, 2009.


  1. Grahams Groove

    Grahams Groove Can we please just groove for a while? Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    Boulder, CO
    I recently blew the dust off my 'Rising Low' DVD - the documentary/sessions following the death of Gov't Mule's bass player Allen Woody.

    Anyway...I can't get over the unbelievable groove on "Hammer and Nails", which is a track featuring Ndegeocello on bass and John Medeski on keys. So, I'm wondering if anyone who has heard this track could point me in the direction of any of her recordings that are along those same lines. I know she's got a decent sized catalog, but I'm wondering specifically about stuff where she's doing more simplified, heavy grooving. (Though, any recommendations are welcome...)

    Thanks in advance...
     
  2. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
  3. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    OH/WV
    Check out the May 09 BP Mag for a great article.
     
  4. Grahams Groove

    Grahams Groove Can we please just groove for a while? Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    Boulder, CO
    Nice - thanks for that. Her pocket-playing/feel is so tight. I love the way she 'pulls' the groove along. If you haven't seen the 'Rising Low' DVD, you should try to find it on-line. Really great bass playing throughout...the footage of Meshell grooving in the studio is good stuff.

    I'll have to check out the BP article, as well...
     
  5. chicago_mike

    chicago_mike

    Oct 9, 2007
    Chicago - LA - Rome
    Endorsing Artist : Genz Benz
    Not only is she a great musician, her songs are so ongodly well written and personal.

    She's a big influence.
     
  6. Grahams Groove

    Grahams Groove Can we please just groove for a while? Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    Boulder, CO
    Any suggestions on where to start with her albums? I seem to recall reading that she's become more politically outspoken over her career... I'm hoping to get into her playing before I focus on some of her more lyrically-oriented material. Can't say I actually know any of her stuff though...
     
  7. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    "Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape" is a great starter IMHO. If not maybe "Peace Beyond Passion"
     
  8. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I wouldn't say she's become more politically outspoken over her career - at least not in terms of her lyrical content. If anything, I'd say her lyrics have become more introspective. I would start with her first album - "Plantation Lullabies". That album, for me, demonstrates Me'shell at her funkiest. I also think it is one of her strongest albums lyrically. Tracks such as "Call Me", "Step Into The Projects", "Soul On Ice", "I'm Diggin' You (Like An Old Soul Record)" and "If That's Your Boyfriend..." are all killers in the groove department. Her second album "Peace Beyond Passion" is a little less edgy in some ways, though still lyrically biting at times. Her third album, "Bitter", followed her stint on the Lilith Fair tour. It's a lot more singer-songwriter, acoustic guitar-ish. Not a particularly funky album and certainly not the place I would start if I was wanting heavy bass lines. Then came "Cookie: The Anthropological Mix Tape". This one has a bit of a harder, programmed sound mixed with some very atmospheric grooves. My favourite tracks off this one are probably "Hot Night", "Dead Nigga Blvd", "God.Fear.Money", "Barry Farms", "Criterion" and her very radical re-interpretation of Funkadelic's "Better By The Pound". In a lot of ways, this album is more minimalist than her first two - definitely more of a vamp kind of vibe throughout (it took me a while to be able to differentiate between some of the songs on this album). Next is the spaced-out "Comfort Woman". One of my favourite late-night albums, it has more of a dub/reggae influence and is less on the funk tip. "The Spirit Music Jamia: Dance Of The Infidel" is a much more jazz-oriented album and is, quite frankly, not so much my cup of tea. Her last album, "The World Has Made Me The Man Of My Dreams" is more of a California-rock meets Me'shell kind of affair. That one still hasn't grown on me. Although I like some of Me'shell's albums better than others, I always admire the conviction and integrity which she displays. She's not afraid to explore different sides of her musicality - whether that's what her record label wants or not!

    Also check out that Chaka Khan tune ("Never Miss The Water"), her collaboration with Soulive ("Doin' Something" remix) and one of her best collaborations, "Nocturnal Sunshine" with Herbie Hancock (from the album "Red, Hot & Cool"). She's done numerous other collaborations (on Guru's "Jazzmatazz", with John Mellencamp, etc.) so check those out too. One of the funkiest bassists ever - hands down - and a huge influence on my playing.
     
  9. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    All I have is PEACE BEYOND PASSION. I've heard a little of her other stuff here and there. Anybody who can write, play, sing and collaborate like that probably doesn't have any albums not worth listening to! I just haven't gotten around to buying more yet.
     
  10. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    +1, even her slower paced albums might take a little longer to unveil themselves to you, but are always gems! One of the most important artist of the last fifteen years IMHO.
     
  11. Grahams Groove

    Grahams Groove Can we please just groove for a while? Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    Boulder, CO
    Thanks for all the info/suggestions.

    Bass12...thanks a ton for the detailed run-down of her albums. That's just what I was looking for...now I've got a nice starting point for checking out her music.
     
  12. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    No problem - I'm always happy to hype one of my favourite artists!

    Have a look at these when you get a chance:



    (David Dyson is the other bassist here).

    From there you can check out all kinds of other videos of Me'shell. Have fun!
     
  13. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    many many great vids from her!


    here is one of my fav from 'Bitter'

    first time I listened to it, I thought my CD came with someone else recorded on it!
     
  14. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Yeah, I've seen those clips before. Love that version of "Satisfy" and "Dead Nigga Blvd". I wish I had a copy of those shows on DVD!
     
  15. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    dimeadozen.org has the 96 North Sea show up. I missed that 2000 show when it was available :(
     
  16. MixBass

    MixBass

    Feb 23, 2006
    L.A. Harbor
    Co-founder. GrabAxe
    Start at the beginning- Plantation Lullabies, go from there. I'm not sure if she was doing the Steve Coleman trip before that, but thats another ball of wax together. Lot's of funk meat on PL.
     
  17. MixBass

    MixBass

    Feb 23, 2006
    L.A. Harbor
    Co-founder. GrabAxe
  18. cnltb

    cnltb

    May 28, 2005
    I like her on her own stuff but have so far only heard her doing one thing, although she is doing that one thing, her own thing rather well.
    I do not think of her as under, but possibly rather as over-rated-As bassist, not as musician where I think she really does have quite a lot to give.
    I'll get her next album for sure...perhaps.
    My favorite album of hers is bitter at the mo, but lullabies got me interested,which I still am-from a general ideas and musical point of view rather than the bass playing one. :)
     
  19. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Over-rated as bassist? Well, she certainly isn't flashy so if that's what you're looking for in a bassist... Different players have different effects on different listeners. A lot of bassists trip on listening to Victor Wooten all night - I'd rather listen to Me'shell. I don't have anything against Wooten, but Me'shell just hits me in the gut with her playing. You know how people will say that B.B. King can say more with one note than most guitarists can with a hundred? That's how I feel about Me'shell. The first time I heard her was on Saturday Night Live (she was the musical director for Arrested Development). She was playing a really simple bass line ("People Everyday") but it was just SO funky. I looked at this five foot woman and her seemingly giant Stingray and I thought, "Damn - who the hell is this?". I've been a fan from that moment and I haven't heard anyone since who has hit me the same way. There are a lot of great players out there - Me'shell just plays bass the way I like to hear bass being played.
     
  20. cnltb

    cnltb

    May 28, 2005
    I also said this...

    and have altered my previous post a little.:)
     

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