SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU)

Jazz Related RnB • Nigeria
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SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) picture
Helen Folasade Adu OBE (born 16 January 1959; better known as Sade), is a British singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer. She first achieved success in the 1980s as the frontwoman and lead vocalist of the Brit and Grammy Award winning English group Sade.

Sade was born in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Her middle name, Folasade, means honour confers your crown. Her parents, Adebisi Adu, a Nigerian lecturer in economics of Yoruba background, and Anne Hayes, an English district nurse, met in London, married in 1955 and moved to Nigeria. Later, when the marriage ran into difficulties, Anne Hayes returned to England, taking four-year-old Sade and her older brother Banji to live with her parents. When Sade was 11, she moved to Holland-on-Sea to live with her mother, and after completing school at 18 she moved to London and studied at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. While
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SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Discography

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) albums / top albums

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Diamond Life album cover 4.36 | 5 ratings
Diamond Life
Jazz Related RnB 1984
SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Promise album cover 4.18 | 7 ratings
Promise
Jazz Related RnB 1985
SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Stronger Than Pride album cover 3.96 | 6 ratings
Stronger Than Pride
Jazz Related RnB 1988
SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Love Deluxe album cover 3.33 | 3 ratings
Love Deluxe
Jazz Related RnB 1992
SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Lovers Rock album cover 3.45 | 3 ratings
Lovers Rock
Jazz Related RnB 2000
SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Soldier Of Love album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Soldier Of Love
Jazz Related RnB 2010

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) EPs & splits

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) The 12 0.00 | 0 ratings
The 12" Mixes
Jazz Related RnB 1988
SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) The Remix Deluxe album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Remix Deluxe
Jazz Related RnB 1993

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) live albums

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Lovers Live album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Lovers Live
Jazz Related RnB 2002
SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Unplugged album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Unplugged
Jazz Related RnB 2003
SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Bring Me Home: Live 2011 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bring Me Home: Live 2011
Jazz Related RnB 2012

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) re-issues & compilations

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Promise & Stronger Than Pride album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Promise & Stronger Than Pride
Jazz Related RnB 1993
SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) The Best Of Sade album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Best Of Sade
Jazz Related RnB 1994
SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) The Ultimate Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
Jazz Related RnB 2011

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) singles (1)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
By Your Side
Jazz Related RnB 2000

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
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Live At Montreux Jazz Festival
Jazz Related RnB 1984
.. Album Cover
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Live
Jazz Related RnB 1994

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Reviews

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Stronger Than Pride

Album · 1988 · Jazz Related RnB
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Chicapah
After putting out two excellent albums that made her and her top-notch band international stars in 1984-85 Sade took almost three years to write, arrange and record their third disc, “Stronger than Pride.” While not identical to the pair that preceded it, its similarities didn’t disappoint the millions of fans who’d anxiously awaited the next installment of their career. Though one can tell that their commitment to their music is first and foremost, their devotion to their loyal following is just as impressive. This group’s sound is so unique and so individualized that to this day no one has been able to competently imitate or even draw fair comparisons to their admirable way of doing things and that’s what legacies are made of.

The album opens with the title cut. A subtle drum pattern establishes the pulsating hue that gives an inviting personality to the track’s underpinnings yet it’s the melodic mien that makes the song transcend the norm. As only a handful of female vocalists can do, Ms. Adu controls and manipulates the dynamics of the tune via her amazing phrasing and undeniable presence. “Paradise” is next and strong rock and R&B elements regally distinguish the number. This band never tries to get overly clever or cute in their approach to their craft, they simply allow Sade to operate her voice in ways that defy convention. The result is musical art that is timeless. “Nothing Can Come Between Us” follows and here the funk flavoring is so understated that it seems clandestine in nature as it gently cradles Adu’s confident delivery effortlessly. “Haunt Me” offers a fine change of pace in that the emphasis shifts to Andrew Hale’s acoustic piano and Stewart Matthewman’s Spanish guitar work that so beautifully support Sade’s breathy singing. The piano solo is delicate and thoughtful, the light orchestration never smothers the song and Stewart’s saxophone ride is suitably dreamy. “Turn My Back on You” tosses in yet another change-up pitch to the plate with its rhythm scheme being based on a novel, stick-on-a-paper-bag snare effect that provides a true departure from their routine motif. This cut causes me to imagine how Sly Stone (in his peak, lucid years, that is) might’ve interpreted Adu’s charismatic technique and style.

“Keep Looking” possesses a funky bass line courtesy of Paul S. Denman that, along with the ever-steady but conservative drumming of Martin Ditcham, drives this tune relentlessly. Sade enchants with her cool voice, demonstrating how sexy is done right. The hypnotic atmosphere they concoct is their forte and no one does it better. “Clean Heart” is next, sporting a smooth, jazzy lilt. Adu, as usual, casts an unavoidable spell on the listener while subdued horns add a classy ambience to the proceedings. Perky, motivating congas set the pace for “Give it Up,” drenching the number in a powerful African aura that will have you dancing in your heart of hearts. “I Never Thought I’d See the Day” follows. Here Hale’s liquid Rhodes piano spreads out below Adu’s inimitable timbre and the song flows freely on its own accord. The track is quite ethereal, with no perceptible beat in evidence. That decision shows clearly their confidence and maturity because why add what’s not necessary? The closer is an entertaining but curious instrumental, “Siempre Hay Esperanza.” It’s an uncomplicated piece where the swaying groove reigns supreme and Matthewman’s saxophone flourishes are sensuous enough yet, taken as a whole, it smacks of filler material. Perhaps they just couldn’t get the vocal to work to their satisfaction (Ms. Adu is listed as one of the composers) or whatever, but it does give the record a strange “unfinished” feel as it comes to an end.

“Stronger Than Pride” topped out at a very respectable #7 on the US album charts, further solidifying Sade’s position as a major player in the confusing 80s music scene. Their refusal to bend to the current trends in the industry paid off once again and continued to set them apart from the madding crowd. If you want consistency and quality in your pop-tinted jazz you need look no further than any of the offerings of this exemplary ensemble of talented musicians.

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Promise

Album · 1985 · Jazz Related RnB
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Chicapah
The fabled sophomore jinx is no myth. The road to fame and fortune is littered on both sides with the rusting remnants of one-and-out artists and groups that were in the right place at the right time with the right vibe when their first album was released but found out all too swiftly how difficult it is to hit pay dirt twice in a row. More often than not it’s a natural result of their producer presenting the very best songs amassed over the act’s gestation period up front and then, for the follow-up, having to either delve into the leftover (and inferior) material or write new tunes from scratch in a hurry. In most cases their artistic weaknesses are blatantly exposed and word spreads like wildfire that the magic that labeled them as “special” is gone for good. Therefore, the pressure to avoid said hex alone is often more than a human being can handle. There are exceptions, of course. The truly talented souls pay the curse no mind at all. In fact, they’re so busy taking advantage of the golden opportunity afforded them by their initial success they consider record #2 but a fortuitous chance to get their aural art into even more ears, not a trap for failure. Sade Adu and her namesake band are one of those gifted entities who snubbed their noses at the sophomore jinx in passing. Their impressive debut was a virtual oasis of hope that, thank the heavens, appeared in the middle of the desolate desert that was the MTV virus-infected 80s so hopes ran high that the group was for real. Released in late December 1985, we fans weren’t disappointed with “Promise.” In many ways “Promise” is even better than “Diamond Life.”

For the unconvinced that viewed Sade as just a slick, overly-contemporary, easy-listening outfit the album’s stunning opener was a revelation. “Is It a Crime” is a dynamic tour-de-force that’s anything but mild-mannered. The song’s a brilliant show-stopper that highlights Adu’s ability to alternately employ both subtlety and power as needed to make an impact on the listener. Bright horns are used sparingly but effectively throughout and Andrew Hale’s piano solo is perfection. This number is one of their all-time greatest and it made a bold statement to the skeptics who didn’t believe they had more ammo in their arsenal to deliver. “The Sweetest Taboo” is next and the reason it shot up to #5 on the singles charts is because it embodies what this combo does so well, enveloping Sade’s silky voice in an enticing, jazzy atmosphere and allowing it to cast an intoxicating spell over your mood. Simplicity is deceiving. Thing is, if it was easy everyone could (and would) be doing it but few can do it like this group. “War of the Hearts” follows. Usually a drum machine-generated rhythm courts disaster but, wisely, they don’t let it dominate the proceedings. Rather they use it to enhance the track as they erect a haunting demeanor for the tune that’s somewhat hypnotic. Sidestepping the predictable pattern, they then present “You’re Not the Man,” a jazzy ballad that builds slowly but surely from its humble beginnings into a moving, passionate expression of honest emotion. I personally wouldn’t have placed the delicate “Jezebel” right after that one but there’s no denying that it stands on its own regardless of the timing involved. It’s a beautiful ballad put forth sans drums, permitting the saxophone, jazz guitar, electric piano and upright bass to support Adu’s seamless vocal. It owns a gorgeous melody made even more memorable by her skillful improvisations and sultry runs.

“Mr. Wrong” is a great change of pace moment. Its spooky jazz groove in 6/8 time is a departure from the other cuts. Paul Denman’s rolling bass line rocks and the punchy percussion is well worth paying attention to. “Punch Drunk” is a slower, sexy instrumental with bluesy overtones that proves they weren’t content to be conservative in their approach. It’s obvious that the musicianship within this tight band grants them the freedom to step out from the background with confidence. “Never as Good as the First Time” is another one of their incredibly catchy songs that explains better than words their universal appeal. This tune crept into the Top 20 for a reason. It’s very hard to resist the funky, flowing current that glides through this number while Sade’s sensuous voice floats like a butterfly atop the waves. “Fear” is a genuine detour from their normal routine. A deep, mysterious aura swirls behind Adu’s inimitable singing in the beginning and then the song briefly takes an unexpected turn into a semi-military march feel before returning to the track’s original lush motif. It’s not wholly successful but nevertheless it’s an ultra cool move on their part to experiment like that. “Tar Baby” has a light Latin lilt that pushes it along steadily. The tune’s excellent arrangement brings out the more admirable aspects of what is ultimately an average composition. The closer, “Maureen,” also belongs in that category. It’s a crisp, MOR piece that’s pleasant enough to ease you out of the record without protest but fairly unremarkable overall. They were smart to put the finest stuff front and center (a common sense tactic that many artists never figure out).

One look at the stats will tell you how popular this album was. It topped both the UK and the US charts, achieving double platinum sales in the former and an astounding quadruple platinum level in the latter. Hordes of jaded people in that confused era were hungry for top-flight, mature music presented to them without gimmicks or silly videos that emphasized grace over gloss and “Promise” was a Godsend in that regard. This is still how jazzy, R&B-flavored pop is done properly and it holds up amazingly well over two and a half decades down the line. This kind of music just doesn’t become dated or stale.

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Diamond Life

Album · 1984 · Jazz Related RnB
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Chicapah
In light of Adele’s phenomenal success in recent times I was reminded that Sade made a similarly astonishing splash when she and her namesake band burst upon the music scene in the mid 80s. Like Adele, Ms. Adu shocked the populace not with blazing pyrotechnics, gaudy costumes or blatantly outrageous lyrics but with high-quality songs she’d played a big part in writing sung with passion and presented with a regal aura of class. Funny how the normally-fickle public at large will respond so enthusiastically to the basic ingredients of greatness when they’re delivered to their ears in an honest package and without unnecessary or distracting frills. Right in the midst of the suffocating MTV-instigated plague of phoniness a bright light of elegant reality rose from the confused morass music was mired in that defied all the trends and brought some sanity with it. That beam of hope was Sade and a sizeable host of us grabbed onto them like shipwreck survivors clinging to a life raft.

Still, it took a while for the record industry pukes to recognize the obvious fact that this group was special because of their basic simplicity. Their debut album, “Diamond Life,” was released without fanfare in England in July of ’84 but it wasn’t until February of the following year that the clownish powers-that-were in the USA caught on and put it out for stateside consumption. By that time it’d topped the charts in most European countries and was a #2 disc in the UK so we here in the states were, by default, the Johnny-come-lately’s to the Sade bandwagon not due to being snobbish but because of a lack of vision on the part of the shortsighted overlords that ran the labels. But once we got to experience what most of the rest of the civilized world had already discovered we embraced Sade’s charms without blinking and they became a sensation overnight. One listen to “Diamond Life” will tell you why.

On the disc I have the album opens unassumingly with “Cherry Pie” wherein Paul Denman’s bass line initiates a strong Latin funk groove, laying a firm foundation that introduces what will distinguish the band’s sound from that of their plasticized competitors, svelte front woman Helen Folasade Adu’s inimitable voice. The group’s clever arrangement does a lot to beef up an average composition, allowing it to develop slowly into a more aggressive track. “Frankie’s First Affair” is better. It’s a smooth-flowing semi-ballad bolstered smartly by driving drums and percussion and where Andrew Hale’s piano and Stewart Matthewman’s sax coyly compliment Adu’s assertive singing. “Hang On to Your Love” is next; the first cut that truly showcases their dance-inducing ability to cast a spell on their listeners, carrying them relentlessly along like an ocean current. The tune’s hook line imbeds itself in your brain and sets up permanent residence while Stewart’s bright keyboards add a touch of excitement. For “I Will Be Your Friend” a swaying samba influence is employed. It’s hard to criticize a number that contains such high fidelity but it fails to make a lasting impression.

On “Sally” a sultry mood places emphasis on Sade’s knack of conveying genuine emotion and she doesn’t shy away from the opportunity to display the many facets of her vocal gifts. “Smooth Operator” follows and, as they say, it had hit written all over it from the first note onward. It climbed to #5 on the Billboard singles chart (it’s also worth mentioning the accompanying video that provided a breath of fresh air on MTV) because of its irresistible beat and the infectious melody lines that snagged you the moment you heard it. It’s a classic that actually deserves that connotation. “When Am I Going to Make a Living” has a perky feel and striking vocal harmonies that effectively set this track apart from the rest of the album. There’s a palpable South African atmosphere running through this song that I find constantly alluring. The only cover tune on the record is their take on Timmy Thomas’ “Why Can’t We Live Together.” Forceful congas propel this R&B number and the Hammond-like keyboard punctuations make things interesting for a while but the track never really kicks into gear. Sade’s voice is unusually thin, which doesn’t help matters, and I must entertain the thought that it was some record exec’s brilliant idea to include this and not the group’s. (FYI, a fine rendition can be found on Steve Winwood’s 2003 “About Time” CD.) They close out with the sublime “Your Love is King,” another impossible-to-ignore song made so via its complete capture of Adu’s sexy personality and her inherent coolness. It’s a wonderful example of how a singer’s intuitive phrasing can make a huge difference in the impact a tune can create. Then and now Sade continues to prove herself a master at that particular art.

“Diamond Life” restored my faith that sometimes (but not always) the cream will find a way to ascend to the top. Circa 1985 I was thoroughly disillusioned by the cocky posturing and rampant insincerity that was thriving and proliferating in the popular music universe. Worse, it was being nurtured by a jaded public that just couldn’t seem to get enough of the inane videos they voluntarily tuned in to ogle 24/7. I was so disgusted that I started listening to talk radio on my way to and from work. Sade’s success gave me reason to believe that somewhere underneath all the glam and glitter real music was still being written, performed, recorded and appreciated. “Diamond Life” is no masterpiece but that can’t diminish its huge significance in music history for arriving in the nick of time to remind us in the jazz-related community that all was not lost.

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Lovers Rock

Album · 2000 · Jazz Related RnB
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Chicapah
After making an impressive, indelible mark on the music world with four well-received, extremely high-fidelity albums from 1985-1992 the popular band known as Sade went on hiatus for eight long years before resurfacing finally with “Lovers Rock” in 2000. Any fears of the public forgetting them disappeared quickly as the record soared to #3 on the Billboard Charts and ended up garnering the Grammy for being the year’s Best Pop Vocal Album. The fact that the group’s lineup consisting of Andrew Hale, Stuart Matthewman, Paul Denman and, of course, Sade Adu herself was still intact guaranteed to their legion of fans that the professional standards they’d set for their sound in the earlier years would remain consistent. In other words, if one didn’t care much for their smooth grooves before you probably wouldn’t be changing your mind after a few minutes of “Lovers Rock” and that truth still holds water today.

The disc begins with “By Your Side,” an emotional ballad that’s subtle in its methods but far from being boring. They wisely move the music out of the way for Sade’s alluring voice to dominate and to reassure their followers that she hasn’t lost any of her hypnotic timbre during their extended break. The Hammond organ’s barely-there presence expertly applied by Hale is a great example of their collective deft and experienced knowledge of production techniques. However, I’m not as enthusiastic about the second cut, “Flow.” Its hip-hop drum effect is understandably a sign of the end-of-the-millennium times but it also dates the track like an out-of-style hat. There’s not enough creativity in the meat of the song to keep it from becoming tedious before it’s half over. “King of Sorrow” is next and the deeper ambience in the presentation distances it from the stale dryness of the previous tune. The songwriting involved is on a loftier level, as well, and that makes it much more memorable. One of the highlights of the album is “Somebody Already Broke My Heart.” The sultriness Sade portrays in this tune is what distinguishes her from her peers that think a flamboyant, in-your-face approach is the only way to grab the attention of the jaded masses. She proves them all wrong and the band’s use of cool yet dynamic punches makes this track a joy to indulge in.

“All About Our Love” is a pleasant ballad set to their trademark swaying feel. It’s short but very sweet. “Slave Song” is unusually eclectic for this group and it’s nice to hear that they don’t always take the safe route. It’s not greatness by any means but I do admire their boldness in stepping away from their comfort zone. “The Sweetest Gift” follows, an acoustic guitar with lone vocal piece that’s simply gorgeous in its sublime simplicity. “Every Word” offers a fine contrast between the relatively arid background behind the verses and the lush opulence that bathes the choruses. “Immigrant” isn’t a bad number, especially in its unorthodox chord structure, but at this juncture how I yearn for a real snare sound! The title cut is next and its sexy, sensual atmosphere surrounds Sade’s unique voice like a dense fog and that’s what her audience, including me, craved to get from her after so long. By the way, pay attention to her phrasing. It is immaculate. They end with “It’s Only Love That Gets You Through,” a song that employs a rare (for them) waltz tempo that glides underneath this Hammond-heavy ballad. The decision to leave drums out of the mix was genius because it would’ve been a distraction to reestablishing the fact that Sade is one of the silkiest singers ever to walk up to a microphone.

The lack of real drums is the only detrimental aspect of “Lovers Rock” that I can relay to the reader but that shouldn’t deter anyone who likes what they hear in classics like “Smooth Operator” or “The Sweetest Taboo” from investing in the album. It’s not a deal-killer. Like all of their material, this is music you can rely on to reassure that there are still modern groups on the planet that can consistently make mature, jazz-influenced music with a touch of genuine class.

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) The Best Of Sade

Boxset / Compilation · 1994 · Jazz Related RnB
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Chicapah
If you don’t have any Sade in your collection of jazz music then this is an excellent place to start. I realize that mellow R&B isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and if you’re of that persuasion then I doubt you’ll find anything attractive about this band other than their lithe yet voluptuous lead singer. Put together in 1982, this group has managed to rack up sales of over 50 million album units worldwide so you must admit that they’ve got something special that a whole lotta folks find irresistible. Like many of their fans, I was first introduced to them via their classy videos on MTV during the weird 80s and thought that their music was interesting. Somewhere along the way towards the end of the millennium I sprang for this collection of songs and never regretted it. When I caught them in concert in 2001 I was blown away by their professionalism, the high fidelity of their presentation and the overwhelming adoration the packed house had for them. There are just times when the music of Sade is perfect for the occasion whether it be a romantic night with my wife, de-stressing after a trying work day or even employing it as an enjoyable backdrop while cleaning the house. It’s some of the most honest music you’ll find anywhere.

“Your Love is King” serves as a perfect example of the Sade sound. The song’s smooth groove and Stuart Colin Matthewman’s rich saxophone are typical of their enticing aural art and Sade Adu’s vocal style is so unique as to put her in a category all her own. “Hang On to Your Love” sports a harder driving beat that shows they can be more aggressive when the tune calls for it. Adu’s layered harmonies are almost dream-like. “Smooth Operator” is the cut off their debut that brought them out of obscurity and into the spotlight and it’s no wonder. The track’s strong Latin feel underscores the song’s unbelievably catchy melody and hook. “Jezebel” is a striking ballad that starts with a subtle combination of guitar and sax behind Sade’s emotional singing. Dave Early’s drums and Andrew Hale’s electric piano enter later on, expanding the parameters of the tune. “The Sweetest Taboo” owns a pulsating rhythm that gives Adu a perfect platform to exude pure sensuality. And I love Paul Spencer Denman’s funky bass guitar pops that give the track character. “Is It a Crime” starts out like a sleazy striptease theme but turns into a breathtaking show-stopper that not only works in the studio, it slays the audience when they perform it on stage. The song’s fantastic dynamics are to die for and Sade knows exactly when to emote and when to pull back. “Never As Good As the First Time” is another middle-of-the-road AOR number that’s unusually predictable for them.

Martin Ditchham’s rolling toms distinguish “Love is Stronger Than Pride” and give it an air of weightlessness. The energy-filled rhythm section of Ditchham and Denman propels “Paradise” relentlessly from beginning to end. “Nothing Can Come Between Us” has a funky atmosphere surrounding it but it still flows seamlessly like a river in spring. My all-time favorite Sade song is next, the incredibly moving “No Ordinary Love.” Its hypnotic mood envelops me every time I hear it due in no small part to Hale’s dense synthesizer backdrop and Matthewman’s imaginative use of the electric guitar. “Like a Tattoo” is a sparsely populated ballad that slowly builds up from nothing but avoids becoming saccharine or overdone. A comfy rock beat from Martin graces “Kiss of Life” with a satisfying lilt and it’s commendable how the band so consistently plays with attention to being tasteful above all else. The low point of the proceedings comes with “Please Send Me Someone to Love.” It’s rare in that it’s a blues tune and, having been penned by Percy Mayfield, is the only cut not written by members of the ensemble. Blues is obviously not Adu’s forte and I can only surmise that it’s included only in order to offer a “bonus” track. “Cherish the Day” is a welcome return to their splendid form and its mysterious aura is beguiling. The album closes with “Pearls,” a sumptuous ballad wherein Sade’s delicious vocal is backed not by the band but by an orchestra led by Gavin Wright.

“The Best of Sade” is one of the better greatest hit packages I own in that, with few exceptions, every song is a delight. This immensely popular group is one of those refreshing ones that you never hear gossip about or see stories concerning the members in the tabloids. Their public persona is their music and nothing more. They’ve wisely kept a low profile over the years and have managed to sidestep overexposure so that when they surface once a decade they’re like a cool breeze blowing in after a long heat wave. I hope every jazzer will give them a chance to entrance and enthrall. I’m confident that you won’t be disappointed.

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