Jill Scott Draws Adele & More to Rousing Hollywood Bowl Debut

Jill Scott, 2017
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Jill Scott performs at the 2017 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca Cola at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 1, 2017 in New Orleans.  

None other than Adele was in the audience when Jill Scott made her debut at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl Wednesday evening. The sold-out performance -- the second half of a double bill featuring Robert Glasper Experiment -- was the latest installment in the L.A. Phil’s 2017 Jazz at the Bowl summer series.

“I’m quite a combination,” declared Scott before ticking off a list of various influences that included Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Diana Ross and Millie Jackson. And Scott channeled all four of her musical heroes as she strutted, sashayed, laughed and conversed her way through a rousing, nearly 90-minute performance that kept her fervent fan base on its feet singing, dancing and cheering the whole time.

Among the evening’s other takeaways:

Adele as fan-girl: Not surprisingly, Adele created her own mini-frenzy when fans seated in the immediate vicinity got wind of her presence. But the singer/songwriter solely focused her attention on Scott, singing and dancing along to such Jilly from Philly staples as “Is It the Way,” “A Long Walk” and “Hate on Me.” Also spotted in the Bowl crowd: singer Bobby Brown and Blue Note Records chief Don Was.

Scott’s strong rapport: Her innate connection with fans hasn’t wavered a bit since Scott first came on the scene in 2000. That was made clear with her performance of “Making You Wait,” a song about not rushing headlong into a relationship. “If you feel you’re deserving of real love, clap your hands,” prefaced Scott. “You’ve got to own it and claim it ... I wrote a song about that.”

After launching into “Wait,” the Grammy winner cut right to the heart of the matter with a couple of choice adlibs. “Shout out to the big d---s,” said a laughing Scott to the mostly female audience raucously hooting its approval. And to drive home how hard it can be physically sometimes to wait for that special someone, Scott broke out a giant red fan, kneeled down and began fanning furiously at the bottom half of her body to a crescendo of audience screams.

Raising social consciousness: Scott reached back to 2004’s “My Petition” for a three-song encore that ended with another of her signature songs, “He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat).” In the wake of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, the former track took on even more significance: “I want fresh fruit, clean water/ Air that I don't see/ I want the feeling of being safe on my streets/ I want my children to be smarter than me/ I want to feel free ... I believe you owe it me / Give it to me like you said you would.”

Perfect one-two punch: Opening act Robert Glasper Experiment set the evening’s tone with its illuminating and invigorating exploration of jazz, R&B, hip-hop and other influences. Humorous and self-deprecating frontman Glasper (“You’re here for Jill Scott, I get it”) led the band through a 45-minute set that included “Cherish the Day” and “Ah Yeah.” Topping off the show to the crowd’s vocally obvious delight: surprise walk-ons by Ledisi and Lupe Fiasco, each leading singalongs to “Gonna Be Alright (F.T.B.)” and “Kick, Push,” respectively.