In February 2008, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jill Scott
returned with her third release in a little over a year, Live In Paris +
, which follows on the heels of her September 2007 album The Real Thing: Words & Sounds Vol. 3
and her January 2007 compilation Collaborations
. Although this release demonstrates that Jill is still at the top of her game vocally, there's not enough new, or different, or thrilling here to make the CD version a must-have. But the deluxe CD/DVD combo? Ah, now that's
worth picking up.
The packaging of the CD version of concert is a little deceptive; it lists only eight songs performed by Jill live in Paris. And while that's true, the concert is actually an hour and seven minutes long, so you definitely get a full-length concert, not just a half-hour collection of snippets or three-minute tracks. Probably the most compelling track is Jill's soaring, eight-minute-plus version of "He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)," her ode to her now ex-husband, Lyzel Williams. The only problem with the live version is that it - and other tracks on the album - are extended so much that they're bloated by over-instrumentation.
Another problem is that most of the songs ("Whatever," "My Petition" and "Rasool" among them) are well-known to only the most devoted Jill Scott fans. Virtually none of her hits are here, making boredom an issue. But that's not a problem on the DVD version, which contains the same eight songs, only in video format. Also on the DVD is a four-song mini-concert recorded in October 2007 at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, plus a short documentary on Jill's fans on the streets of Paris.
Overall, the deluxe CD/DVD version gives you far more for your money. It's not that the regular, CD-only edition is bad, but without the visuals of the concert, the whole thing can seem meandering and unexciting. But with the added dimension of video with the songs, things become significantly more interesting. Overall, the deluxe edition may be costlier and harder to find than the regular edition of Live in Paris +, but if you're a devoted fan of hers, it's worth it.