Talking to @jonbatiste is such a joy. Here he’s explaining to me the “conservatory of the black church” that informed Aretha Franklin’s music. This goes beyond the idea that she just knew how to sing gospel songs. His point is that her experience, starting as a young girl, performing in her father’s church, navigating with voices that were sometimes not exactly in the right key, maneuvering and then leading musicians who played there, created the set of skills that allowed her to connect with other musicians and direct them. “She knew the non-verbal ways of conducting just by playing something . That opened up the lane for her to sing.” As he was saying this, we had a joint epiphany about a famous moment in Muscle Shoals when Franklin connects with the local Alabama musicians in making I Never Loved a Man which she says was a turning point in her career.