Vitamin String Quartet

The String Quartet Tribute to Sade

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As these String Quartet Tributes go, and they are an extremely mixed -- mostly bad -- lot, this volume dedicated to the music of jazzy, songwriting pop chanteuse Sade is a bit of a diamond in the rough. For starters, Sade's music is on the mellow side, and is normally sparse in its arrangement. Its tempos are languid, and its atmospherics are sultry and silky. The String Quartet Tribute to Sade's versions take great liberties with the arrangements and therefore reinterpret the music, rather than providing merely an "elevator music" read of them. In keeping with the Vitamin label's dictates, the artist's greatest hits are chosen for interpretation, such as "Sweetest Taboo," "Jezebel," "Smooth Operator," "Your Love Is King," "King of Sorrow," and the like. There is one original composition, entitled "Dreamer's Path," which is supposed to be in the spirit of the artist's own output, but falls short in t terms of both imagination and nuance; thankfully it's the final track on the disc. This is a mood piece to be sure, but at least it's that rather than merely a novelty.

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