Sheila E. has been one of music's top drummers and percussionists since her debut in Prince's band. Alongside her legendary father, Pete Escovedo, and as a solo performer, she continues to enjoy commercial as well as artistic success on such recordings as her year 2000 release on the Concord Vista label, titled Writes of Passage. This time around, the highly talented musician has followed up with Heaven. Created with a little help from her friends, including George Duke, Gerald Albright, and many more, Sheila E. adds her vocal, percussion, drum, producing, composing, and arranging skills and other cool tools to yet another jazz style. She's cool, yet beautifully orchestrated, but most of all, she has opened her musical treasure trove and delivered some new grooves, R&B-inflected vocals, smooth gospel, and funky jazz. The 12 compositions include seven either written or co-written by Sheila E., with a memorable percussion solo and miniMoog solos by Sheila E. and Byron Williams, respectively, on "Trust Me," and smooth jazz solos from saxophone master Gerald Albright and guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr. on the title track. "Bahia" is a Brazilian jazz composition with breezy vocals from Lynn Mabry and Sheila E., and is quite beautiful. Saxophonist Eddie M. closes the program with a beautiful, poignant smooth gospel song titled "Revelation." Heaven does not feature many of Sheila E.'s fiery, trademark Latin percussion jam sessions that she plays with the Escovedo family, but certainly delivers an assortment of musical styles -- R&B, smooth jazz, smooth gospel, Brazilian jazz, and funk -- and is remarkably different from anything she has done.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein