Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sade Adu

I remember walking down the street with a friend in 1984 and seeing the cover of Diamond Life, Sade’s first album, in a record store window (remember those?). It resembled a  ‘50’S LP cover, with its blue tinted photograph a beautiful, sensuous woman. My companion remarked, “If she has a voice that matches that face, she’s got something there.”
Sure enough, weeks later we heard a lovely, burning tune on the radio - the first single off that album, “Smooth Operator”.  We could now match the face with music. And now, we had a name: Sade (pronounced, of course shar-day).

Being jazz heads, we weren’t fooling ourselves that this cool, suave pop star was an bondafide jazz singer, but she had a slick sound that suggested the sophisticated feeling of the music without the improvisational aspects that exemplify the music. She was probably one of the first truly successful smooth jazz artists.

Sade and her crack band weren’t a flash in the pan. The quietly innovative group expanded and worked with its signature sound expertly over the years until their last smash album, Soldier Of Love in 2010.

African British Helen Folasade Adu (her real name) is the very definition of diva, rarely retuning to the stage or recording studio until she sees fit, but always finds generations a eager fans who are always willing to hear more.    

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