Artist: Jill ScottTitle: CollaborationsRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Aja

In an effort to ward off zealots, the release of the compilation Collaborations (Hidden Beach) is sure to appease the hankerings of even the most passionate Jill Scott fans. As a bona fide collection of some of Jill's most eclectic works, the trauma of having to purchase full-length CDs of nothingness has been eased from the domes of adoring aficionados. For those who embarrassingly gripped out gold to cop the entire Wild Wild West soundtrack just to add "8 Minutes to Sunrise," featuring Common to their stashes; no longer must they hide their forbidden purchases under the mattress when company arrives.

Collaborations commences with the smoothly poetic vocabs of Mos Def blended with the rich vocals of Jill in their urban classic "Love Rain." Though a great treasure to the project, one wonders why two versions of the song were affixed. The most underground of the two-rightfully dubbed the "Coffee Shop Mix"-would have sufficed.

The pleasure of the undertaking lies in "Let Me," which is a brilliant mixture of Sergio Mendes and Jill Scott masterfully produced in a manner only can accomplish.

A dilemma is the label's attempt to follow a passe"best of" model. The distress of having to purchase full-length CDs just to satisfy the thirst for one song is as played as the word "played." Indeed, that dreaded strain was lifted years back with the advent of mp3 downloads. There rests an issue with Collaborations. Though apparent to most music consumers, it is evident that labels have not realized the concept that music buyers are not brainless enough to necessitate a ready-made compilation CD.

As most fans may estimate, Collaborations is a ditch effort to keep the taste for her vocals on their tongues while she labors on another release. Sources indicate that she is presently in-studio hashing out another soulful undertaking. The problem may well be whether or not this is the pacifier her fans desire. Cuts such as "Sometimes I Wonder," featuring Darius Rucker and "Slide," featuring Jeff Bradshaw could have been left in the Hidden Beach vault and Jill Scott fans would have endured. Collaborations is a superb attempt to compile some of Jill's most treasured duets, though the effort to advertise Hidden Beach overshadows her talent.