A metaphoric shift to relatively serene high barometric pressure profoundly affects Weather (Naïve), Meshell Ndegeocello's latest, surprisingly hushed and intimate album. Rather than grappling with the world or lashing out at it with anger and bitterness as she often has in the past, Ndegeocello is far more contemplative as she muses about personal relationships while crafting a subtly alluring fusion of pop, jazz, soul, and folk. It all floats in the fathomless depths of Joe Henry's exquisite production, a warmly organic medium alive with textural intrigues notably including Ndegeocello's versatile voice, which sometimes gently ventures into higher octaves, and the ripe pulse of her bass. Despite the dearth of storm clouds on Weather and its essentially spare sound (particularly the cover of Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel"), most of the tracks have the multifaceted complexity of finely cut jewels, while Ndegeocello's lyrics probe equally complicated emotions. She's reportedly touring with a four-piece band that includes drums, guitar, keyboards, and cello.
Mondays, Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Jan. 22. Continues through Jan. 23, 2012