New York always treats me right. This time it’s spoiled me somethin’ wonderful.
I was graciously invited to Jazz at Lincoln Center to hear the long-awaited new album from Sade titled “Soldier of Love,” along with a few industry heavies. I thought, perhaps I’ll just wait for the advanced copy in the new year. After all, it does get a little chilly this time of year out that way. Then, it was mentioned she and the band might fall by to say hello, etc. Upon hearing that, I did whatever needed to be done to ensure my attendance. This included dragging my family to the mall during the holiday rush to help me nab a sweater, some gloves, and other East Coast essentials that Californians don’t really need.
This is a band that has been together 25 years, with a sound that remains defiant of general category. This is a woman who’s had me and countless others vexed with her stunning beauty, beguiling movement, and bewitching sound. She’s a real live siren, a mythical creature that appears once a decade to exercise her seductive prowess. I know I’m putting a lot on it, but c’mon, I’m a man speaking of Sade Adu. She stands alone.
After some mingling and catching up with folks, an official looking English bloke spoke a few words before launching into the album. I immediately excused myself from all conversation and walked slowly to the sweet-spot in the room, the place where the sound is the warmest and brightest. I stood, listening intently, drowning out the infamous, never-ending hum of NYC hustle-speak. The record is nothing short of exceptional. Another sumptuous round with a champion of sound. No more than 10 cuts deep, it is filled with the classic, sonic richness they’re known for, along with a couple of minor departures that explore dance floor-worthy tempos and drum programming. I can’t wait to play more of it.
The English bloke appeared again and got on the mic. The room hushed as if all in unison were thinking “OMG, is she really here??”. Before I knew it, she sauntered out, distinguished bandmates in tow. I waited patiently, trying hard not to look like an overgrown groupie. Not sure I could help it though. Someone introduced us. The room was loud, but when she spoke, I only heard the warm tenor of her voice saying “hello” in that deadly British timbre. She has a phenomenal smile. I thought to myself, “say something idiot!”, and I believe I uttered something like “uhh…thank you”. Otherwise, I didn’t speak and just stood there with a silly, boyish grin. I forgot to get a picture with her the first time. Or maybe I did that on purpose, so I could be next to her twice.
The short trip was the best NY adventure yet. Saw a few old friends, made some new ones, partook of mouth watering baby shower leftovers with Top Chef host and former Guest DJ Padma Lakshmi, and will cherish the day I met Ms Adu forever. Shouts to big Mike and the crew at Sony, DJ She-Rock, big time Stuart Matthewman, ex-west coaster Kavi, the Empire Hotel staff, and Padma’s mom!
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