by Peter Aaron
One is for Jason Moran’s All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller (Blue Note Records), which she co-produced with Don Was and has been nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, while the other is for Ruthie Foster’s Promise of a Brand New Day (Blue Corn Music), which is up for Best Blues Album.
“I decided it should be a dance party,” says Moran about the making of All Rise. “If you think about Fats, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Earl Hines—all of them were making the popular sounds of their era: dance music. That’s when I reached out to Meshell. She was my only choice.” For Foster’s Promise of a Brand New Day, Ndegeocello was fully in charge, overseeing the choice of players, takes, and mixing. “I wanted this album to highlight Ruthie’s voice and also communicate her vibe, give a fuller picture of her artistry and ability,” explains Ndegeocello, who also plays bass on the album.
Here’s an intimate clip of Ndegeocello performing the Fats Waller standard “The Joint is Jumpin’” with Moran’s band at Harlem’s Lenox Lounge in 2011:
Big congrats on both nominations, Meshell. Fingers crossed!