This week’s video feature is a D’Angelo live concert from the North Sea Jazz Festival from 2015. D’Angelo disappeared from the public eye after the end of the legendary Voodoo album concert tour and this was his return. This concert tour was known as “The Second Coming Tour” and he was promoting his new album “Black Messiah“. He assembled a great group of musicians to back him up. The band featured Chris Dave on drums, Jesse Johnson of the band “Time” on guitar, and of course, the legendary Pino Palladino on bass.
Pino Palladino has been associated with the neo-soul movement since the early 2000s. Starting in 2000, he played on a number of staple neo-soul recordings, most notably he appeared on “Mama’s Gun” and “Bamboozled Soundtrack” by Erykah Badu, “Like Water For Chocolate” and “Electric Circus” by Common, and on the legendary “Hard Groove” album by the RH Factor which was led by the late Roy Hargrove just to name a few.
Pino started his career in the ’80s as a session musician for artists such as Paul Young, with whom he was featured on the classic tune “Wherever I Lay my Hat” playing the fretless bass intro. Since then, he has been active in the session music world playing with artists such as John Mayer, Elton John, Common, and D’Angelo.
Pino first collaborated with D’Angelo on his second release called “Voodoo“, which to this day, is labeled as one of the staple records in the neo-soul movement. Voodoo, alongside records from the ’90s such as Erykah Badu’s Baduizm, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is characterized as the albums that popularized the neo-soul movement. It is labeled as one of the most original and timeless albums of all time. This album was on top of the Billboard Album Charts and produced a number of classic songs, which to this day are widely listened to. Furthermore, it also won awards at the 43rd Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album and the song “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” won for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
This album was recorded from 1998 to 1999 in the legendary Electric Lady Land Studios in New York City, which also was built by the famed Jimi Hendrix. D’Angelo worked with a group of session musicians from the New York City scene called the “Soulquarians”. This group of musicians and artists were a key factor for the success of this album. The Soulquarians played on many sessions simultaneously at the Electric Lady Land studio, most notably working on Erykah Badu’s and Common’s album at the same time as working on Voodoo. This led to and spontaneous collaborations. Some of the members of the Soulquarians were Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson from The Roots, who was one of the leaders of this group, James Poyser, Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, and Mos Def to name a few. The late Roy Hargrove was also one of the key contributors to this album, playing all the horn parts on this album. Other jazz musicians who contributed to this project were, Charlie Hunter and Giovanni Hidalgo to mention a few.
Pino met D’Angelo while he was playing with B.B. King at one of the earlier Voodoo sessions. Pino was a key contributor to this album, even though almost all of the bass lines were written by D’Angelo, he still had a lot of freedom to put his own flair to these songs. Pino also played the subsequent Voodoo World Tour.
After a 14-year hiatus, D’Angelo released his newest album Black Messiah, with Pino being a major contributor to it. This new album also features an all-star lineup of musicians like Questlove, Isaiah Sharkey, Roy Hargrove, Jesse Johnson, James Gadson, and Chris Dave to name a few.
At the 58th Grammy Awards, Black Messiah won for Best R&B Album award. at the 58th Grammy Awards. Black Messiah was cited by Clayton Purdom as “the best neo-soul album this decade” Also, in 2020, Rolling Stone ranked the album on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
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