D’Angelo’s Voodoo (2000) is considered by many to be the definitive neo-soul record. Conceived as a reaction to the synthesized, club-orientated direction of commercial R&B at the time, Voodoo took inspiration from the pioneers of the original meaning of R&B including James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, Hendrix and Prince.
The result was a collection of loose, groove-based songs (although they rarely followed the traditional pop song structure) that were anchored by a distinctive, laid-back rhythm section feel provided by Pino Palladino and drummer/producer Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson. Tracks like the album’s main hit ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)’ showcased the glitchy, behind-the-beat feel that had not only become an integral part of the neo-soul genre but would also prove to be hugely influential on the music of a number of artists in the future (I’m looking at you, Kendrick Lamar).
‘Send It On’ was the first song to be recorded for the album, and was released as the fourth single from Voodoo. A horn-laden 6/8 ballad with a swung 16th-note feel that borrows heavily from Kool & The Gang’s ‘Sea Of Tranquility’, the song is built around a repeated groove that outlines a four chord progression (Am7 – Gm7 – C7sus – F major 7). During the song’s outro section, Pino branches out into more melodic territory, venturing up into the higher register of the bass to provide something of a bass cadenza to the song.
The transcription is of the live version of ‘Send It On’, featured on the bootleg album Live in Stockholm, recorded on the much-celebrated Voodoo tour in 2000 – this album has been ‘officially’ released on Spotify and other platforms and is well worth a listen. The tempo of ‘Send It On’ is brighter than the album version, but Pino’s grooves (and his melodic flourishes) are essentially the same as those played on the studio version.