Meshell Ndegeocello To Show ‘Love’ To James Baldwin On New Album ‘No More Water: The Gospel Of James Baldwin’

Photo Credit: Andre Wagner

If the prolific and prophetic author James Baldwin were still with us today, he’d be celebrating his 100th birthday this August. Instead, many people and communities will celebrate his remarkable life and significant contributions throughout this year. Singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello will honor Baldwin in her own special way with the release of her upcoming tribute album No More Water: The Gospel Of James Baldwin, the follow up to her GRAMMY Award-winning Blue Note debut The Omnichord Real Book, this August and she gives us a listen with the set’s latest single “Love.”

“Love” is inspired by one of Baldwin’s many searingly honest essays found in his book The Fire Next Time. Meshell takes that sentiment and turns it into a musical meditation about love and what exactly it means.

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The song swoops and swells with sound, led by a chorus of singers combining into one voice as they paraphrase Baldwin’s musings on love to the song’s rhythm. Eventually, their singing becomes a chant as they repeat the phrases in a staccato cadence that allows the words to sink in alongside the keys, stings, guitar and drums that accompany it.

Before the song concludes, Meshell says the most memorable quote about love that the book offers: “Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle. Love is a war. Love is a growing up. Love takes off the mask that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”

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No More Water: The Gospel Of James Baldwin will feature “Love” and previously released songs “Travel” and “Raise The Roof.” It will also feature her cadre of cherished collaborators — vocalists Kenita-Miller Hicks and Justin Hicks, guitarist Chris Bruce, keyboardists Julius Rodriguez, Jebin Bruni and Jake Sherman, drummer Abe Rounds and trumpeter Paul Thompson. It will also feature spoken word pieces from famed poet Staceyann Chin and Pulitzer Prize winner Hilton Als. In addition to the esteemed group that contributed to the album, it will also have the honor of arriving on August 2nd, which would’ve been Baldwin’s 100th birthday.

Prepare to experience James Baldwin through the lens of Meshell Ndegeocello when you stream “Love” as well as “Travel” and “Raise The Roof” right here. Then head below to see the No More Water cover art and tracklist and Meshell’s jam-packed tour itinerary for the rest of 2024, including a headlining set for BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn on the album’s release day.

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Photo Credit: Blue Note Records

Meshell Ndegeocello No More Water: The Gospel Of James Baldwin tracklist:

1. Travel
2. On The Mountain
3. Baldwin Manifesto I
4. Raise The Roof
5. The Price Of The Ticket
6. What Did I Do?
7. Pride I
8. Pride II
9. Eyes
10. Trouble
11. Thus Sayeth The Lorde
12. Love
13. Hatred
14. Tsunami Rising
15. Another Country
16. Baldwin Manifesto II
17. Down At The Cross

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Meshell Ndegeocello Tour Dates:

July 5 – Love Supreme Festival – East Sussex, United Kingdom
July 7 – Casa del Jazz – Rome, Italy
July 8 – Bremen Theater – Copenhagen, Denmark
July 10 – Marseille Jazz des Cinq Continents – Marseille, France
July 12-14 – North Sea Jazz Festival “Artist In Residence” – Rotterdam, Netherlands
July 16 – Jazz a Sete Festival – Sete, France
July 19 – Festival Jazz en Ville – Vannes, France
July 21 – Stuttgart Jazz Open Festival – Stuttgart, Germany
July 23 – Jazz in Marciac – Marciac, France
Aug. 2 – BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn – Brooklyn, NY
Aug. 4 – Newport Jazz Festival – Newport, RI
Aug. 7 – Denver Botanic Gardens – Denver, CO
Aug. 8 – Ravinia Festival – Highland Park, IL
Sept. 15 – New Mexico Jazz Festival – Santa Fe, NM
Sept. 16 – MIM – Phoenix, AZ
Sept. 20 – The Center for the Arts at the Armory – Somerville, MA
Sept. 21 – Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center – Albany, NY
Sept. 22 – Wexner Center for the Arts – Columbus, OH
Sept. 26 – Infinite Dream Festival – Iowa City, IA
Sept. 28 – Wisconsin Union Theater – Madison, WI
Sept. 29 – Door Community Auditorium – Fish Creek, WI
Oct. 3 – World Café Live – Philadelphia, PA
Oct. 5 – The Music Center at Strathmore – North Bethesda, MD
Oct. 6 – New Jersey Performing Arts Center – Newark, NJ
Oct. 31 – JazzOnze+ Festival Lausanne – Lausanne, Switzerland
Nov. 1 – Enjoy Jazz-Alte Feuerwache – Mannheim, Germany
Nov. 3-4 – Stadtgarten Konzertsaal – Cologne, Germany
Nov. 6-7 – Musikbrauerei – Berlin, Germany
Nov. 9 – Rockit Festival – Groningen, Netherlands
Nov. 10 – Le Guess Who? Festival – Utrecht, Netherlands
Nov. 11 – De Roma – Antwerp, Belgium
Nov. 12-13 – New Morning – Paris, France
Nov. 15 – Koko – London, United Kingdom
Dec. 2-5 – Jazz Alley – Seattle, WA
Dec. 7 – Walter Art Center – Minneapolis, MN

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