Sade / The Best Of Sade (180 Gram Vinyl) (2 Lp's)
Sade: Sade Adu (vocals); Stuart Matthewman (guitar, saxophone); Andrew Hale (keyboards); Paul S. Denman (bass). Additional personnel includes: Leroy Osbourne, Jake Jacas (vocals); Gordon Hunte (guitar); Tony Pleeth (cello); Terry Bailey, Gordon Matthewman (trumpet); Pete Beachill (trombone); Dave Early, Martin Ditcham (drums, percussion); Paul Cooke, Trevor Murrell (drums); Karl Vanden Bossche (percussion). Producers: Robin Millar, Ben Rogan, Mike Pela, Sade, Hein Hoven. Engineers: Mike Pela, Ben Rogan. Digitally remastered by Tom Coyne (Sterling Sound, New York, New York). Nigerian vocalist Sade Adu has carved out a cosmopolitan niche for herself over the past decade, gathering together elements of cool jazz, samba, reggae, funk, and pop all under the pastoral umbrella of her suede-and-velvet voice. A pop stylist with a musical universe all her own, Sade has endured and matured over the past decade, seemingly unaffected by changes in taste and fashion; a movement unto herself. As her most recent single (Percy Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone to Love" from the Philadelphia soundtrack) illustrates, Sade's coy, caressing voice speaks more of commitment and trust, of relationships in flux ("Nothing Can Come Between Us") than of the heat of the moment: from the the coy duplicity of "Smooth Operator" to the positive reinforcement of "The Sweetest Taboo" and the sweet ambiguities of "Love Is Stronger Than Pride." Outside of Sade's mentholated vocals, it is the serene, understated quality of her arrangements that lend The Best of Sade its classic touch of elegance. Delicate washes of percussion and acoustic guitar, the coiled intensity of Stuart Matthewman's tenor saxophone counterpoint, Andrew Hale's suave, elusive keyboard colorations, and Paul S. Denman's discretely dancing bass provide a maximum of smoke, but precious little fire. The simmering aftermath of Sade's music is as deceptively powerful as a mixed drink: smooth and sweet going down, but with a surprisingly potent kick.