Top positive review
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Pure Liquid Elegance
on 27 November 2003
There has never been a singer quite like Sade Adu. Although she is of Nigerian origin, and her voice is clearly that of a woman of color, she is equally influenced by her English upbringing; the resulting combination of African heat and British coolness, particularly when combined with her band's elegant mixture of American and European jazz idioms and African rythmns, is as original today as when it first appeared. Superficially cool and seemingly detached, everything about the band simmers with an underlying passion.
While Adu and her band have done many memorable recordings since they debuted, DIAMOND LIFE remains their single finest recording: it is pure liquid elegance every step of the way. Opening with "Smooth Operator," which makes particularly good use of Stuart Matthewman on sax, the entire collection flows effortlessly from cut to cut--some dark, some slightly dissonate, some slightly upbeat, and every one of them memorable in the most haunting way imaginable.
Like "Smooth Operator," both "Your Love Is King" and "Hang on to Your Love" actually broke into the charts as singles--a truly amazing feat for a jazz-oriented club band in the ultra-synthetic 1980s. But in truth, be it "Cherry Pie," "When Am I Gonna Make A Living," or "Sally," there isn't a bad cut on the entire CD. Everything shimmers with a sultry yet subtle beauty, pulling you into an atmosphere in which you seem to feel the pulse of a midnight lounge, the atmosphere of the club scene fromw which Sade emerged.
As a band, Sade is sexy, cool, smart, delicately shaded, and brilliantly shaped, and the aptly titled DIAMOND LIFE is perhaps one of the best debut recordings made over the past fifty years. Mix yourself a drink, turn the lights down low, drop this on the stereo--and dream of smoke, the clink of cocktail glasses, and the murmur of voices gone suddenly silent when the band begins to play. Strongly recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer