[ singer/songwriter ]
In most cases, a tribute to a singer best known for interpreting other people’s songs would be the ultimate exercise in pointlessness. But Nina Simone was no mere covers artist, Meshell Ndegeocello has an inimitable voice and viewpoint of her own and neither of those exacting, eclectic musicians ever let herself be bound by other people’s expectations. On Pour Une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone (Naïve), the idiosyncratic bassist begins with Simone’s long-venerated versions of standards like “Suzanne” and “House of the Rising Sun” as a reference point and then spins off into her own orbit. Even when Toshi Reagon, Sinead O’Connor or Cody ChesnuTT steps in to sing lead, Ndegeocello’s sensibility is clearly running the show. Best of all is her haunting take on “Four Women,” one of Simone’s finest originals.
Mon., Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m., $40-$52, World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400, worldcafelive.com.