Sonic Reducer: Special 2003 Last-Minute Holiday Edition

Michael Henningsen
2 min read
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Filmed in 1994, a couple of years prior to Sade Adu's arrest for heroin possession and subsequent prison stint, Sade Live is a gift from God Himself. Bear with me here. The program was released on DVD several years ago, and captures the singer and her band at the height of popularity and artistic mastery. Largely forgotten in today's musical landscape, Sade once represented adult-oriented, R&B-infused jazz-rock at its finest. And just because you didn't bother to listen to adult-oriented, R&B-infused jazz-rock doesn't mean it all sucked. Indeed, the case is just the opposite. Adu's voice, combined with keyboardist Stuart Matthewman's songwriting savvy and the incomparable grooves laid by unheralded bassist Paul S. Denman and guitarist/saxophonist Andrew Hale made for some of the most perfect late-night driving/make-out music in history. Yeah, you have to be a little ballsy to cite Sade as a band you admire, but if you actually get music, all the bullshit razzing in the world doesn't matter. If you think I'm wrong, you're just depriving yourself, and that's really sad.

Sade kicks ass, and this DVD proves it whether you have the guts to watch it or not. I personally defy anyone to write better bass lines than Denman's (no, Primus fans, I'm not talking about that intolerable notes-per-minute crap you write incessantly about in your dumb-ass chat rooms—I'm talking actual bass lines) or plug subtle, scintillating guitar parts into brilliant, so-called AOR songs as creatively as does Hale. And that voice … fucking forget it.

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