Saturday, November 7, 2009
Basia Is Back!
What musical artist always gets you feeling good? For me, it would have to be Basia. She is a pop-jazz singer who hit it big in this country in the early 1990s. Her sound was distinctive--as I researched what to say in this blog about her, I culled some critics. Here are their adjectives to describe Basia's music:
an absorbing blend of R&B, jazz, classic American soul, and Latin flavours
global pop/jazz sound
Latin-tinged, effortlessly funky jazz-pop
Yes, all that, and simply put--it's music that you can't help dance or strum your fingers to. I'm not usually inclined to like material that might be classified as "smooth jazz", but Basia is much more than that. Kinda Gloria Estefan-like, but more expansive.
I've heard that her lyrics are good, but I can't get off the music long enough to focus upon them. Maybe it's her singing. It doesn't matter, though--there's that beat, and those chord progressions that are so memorable.
Take a look at some of her hits: "Cruising for a Bruising", Baby You're Mine", "Until You Come Back to Me", and "Time and Tide".
Reviewing these videos on YouTube, I couldn't help thinking how much she resembled a dancer in a Robert Palmer video with that exaggerated lipstick and porcelain skin. And yet, unlike the Palmer video dancers whose hair is slicked back, Basia's is flowing, and her face has a strong Eastern European physiognomy. Listening to the music, I recall another singer who broke about the same time Basia did, a Brit named Lisa Stansfield. Both singers have R & B underpinnings that undoubtedly appealed to an old Motown lover like me.
Basia has a new release out (It's That Girl Again), and it's only her second in the last 15 years, so it's time to celebrate. I had forgotten where I left my happy pills! She has the same hair and lipstick that she had all those years ago, but the face is more weathered (as all ours are, I suppose). The sound is miraculously the same.
Printed on the CD itself are these words: "Basia: It's That Girl Again. Saying All Is Good and Well. But Why Is She Looking So Pleased After All That Has Happened." I searched for the trauma on-line, but couldn't find anything but a nice nine-minutes of promotion. Ah, what's it matter! Welcome back, Basia!
The promo will give you a taste of her latest release, as well as a 2-part interview that she have to a "Smooth Jazz" station somewhere. If you are unfamiliar with Basia, I highly recommend this release. It is irresistible!