Monday, April 21, 2014

Late Night Listening: The Best of Sade

For some reason, it seemed to be trendy to dismiss Sade's music as easy listening pablum, but I've never understood that. She has a beautiful, emotional voice, and her jazz-pop arrangements are engaging and satisfying. I hadn't even thought to look for any of her work on vinyl until I ran across this two-album Best of Sade at a bargain price.  I've actually given it several plays since then, and I like it a little more each time.

I only knew a few of her biggest hits—"Smooth Operator" and "The Sweetest Taboo" and "Is it a Crime"—so most of this album was new to me. I was quite impressed; she has the confidence and talent of Amy Winehouse, who was also quite jazz influenced, but she lacks the stridence or anger of Winehouse, which is just fine with me.

As I listen to her album, I'm also reminded of some of the best music of the early 80s; the instrumentation, carried by an strong rhythm section that highlights Paul Denman's impeccable bass. There's also some wonderful saxophone courtesy of Stuart Matthewman, who does double duty on sax and on guitar.

You can't find better after-midnight listening than this.

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