Chicago’s Jamila Woods makes enchanting, eclectic rock and R&B music grounded in strong songwriting, but to sum up what she does by calling her a “musician” would be a massive oversimplification. Woods has a poet’s grasp of vivid and evocative language, a cultural historian’s drive to contextualize the stories of the past into lessons for the present. She has a compelling visual sense, from coolly calculated movements onstage, to the eye-popping pillars with lyrical snippets that stand behind her four-piece band.
More than a typical concert, Woods’ performance to a packed house at The Foundry of The Fillmore Philly last night was a seminar, a workshop, a multimedia encapsulation of a time and place in history, weaving together stories of personal frustrations with observations about the collective struggles of marginalized citizens over the past century. This is a central theme of Woods’ new album Legacy! Legacy!, where almost all the songs are named for important voices in black and brown cultural history — Octavia Butler to Miles Davis to Jean-Michel Basquiat. Continue reading →