I’m inclined to introduce Sade as one of the most critically acclaimed acts in soul music… of all time. I’d say that’s a fair assessment: six studio albums, Grammy Awards, BRIT Awards, albums certified quadruple platinum, over 50 million albums sold worldwide, and on a personal note, one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen.
I remember Trevor Nelson famously saying once on MTV “If you don’t own at least one Sade album, then shame on you” – and he’s very right – with a career spanning four decades and a countless list of hits that practically roll off the tongue including ‘No Ordinary Love’, ‘Cherish the Day’, ‘Kiss of Life’, ‘Sweetest Taboo’ and ‘By Your Side’, Sade have left an indelible mark on UK music even beyond the soul scene. What more is there for a band to achieve? Well, through it all, Sade Adu has never strayed from the band’s core of Stuart Matthewman, Andrew Hale and Paul Denman, and best described the prospect of ever working with someone new as follows:
I’m too scared they’ll find me out. It’s like The Wizard of Oz. They’ll find out there’s nothing there. As for collaborations, I’m collaborating with the band and do what we do. I see myself as a member of this band who does these songs that we write.
Remixes are aplenty though so you’d do well to look for alternate mixes of ‘King of Sorrow’ featuring late, great, rapper Guru, and the one everyone knows, Noah Shebib’s remix of ‘The Moon and the Sky’, featuring Jay-Z. The lack of genuine meeting-of-the-minds style collaborations is really the main reason we’re selecting Sade for this fantasy mash-up, but who could do justice in being paired with Sade’s quintessentially unique style and unrivalled class?
The Robert Glasper Experiment to the stage please…
Jazz pianist, Robert Glasper, found mainstream recognition in 2012 by abandoning the classical jazz stylings established on his previous four solo releases and sharing top-billing with his side-project, the Robert Glasper Experiment. Consisting of members Chris Dave (drums), Casey Benjamin (saxophone and vocoder) and Derrick Hodge (bass), the Experiment’s sound leant itself towards more R&B and soul while highlighting an element of the electronic, captured beautifully by Benjamin’s vocoder work. With ‘Black Radio’ and ‘Black Radio 2’ to their discography, success came in bucket loads and scored them a Grammy win for the former, which is an album I’d happily go on record to claim as one of the best albums of the 21st century!
Sade merging with the Robert Glasper Experiment gives her a whole new sound, direction and it’s one that stems as a natural evolution of an already exceptional discography.
Could it happen?
Very highly unlikely. Actually, let’s just say ‘no’ so as to completely eliminate all glimmers of hope. The key thing to remember is that ‘Sade’ isn’t just the abbreviated name of Helen Folasade Adu, it’s also the name of the band, as Sade states above, so anything outside of that just doesn’t seem feasible. The very best we could hope for – which I doubt is something that’s even likely – is for Sade to appear as a guest among the slew of names Glasper’s employed for the ‘Black Radio’ albums, but, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Exhibit A, may I present you with the classic ‘Cherish the Day’ from Sade…
…And for Exhibit B, I’ll leave you with a number from ‘Black Radio’, which is the gang’s interpretation of the very same song with the magnificent Lalah Hathaway on lead vocals. Listen to this and pine away for what may never be.