Sapphire

Sapphire

5.0 4
by Teena Marie
     
 
Teena Marie's Sapphire -- named after a nickname given to her by onetime partner and late funk legend Rick James -- doesn't sound like the work of a 50-year-old artist. While 2004's La Doña, Marie's first commercially released album since 1990, hardly sounded like the work of a 48-year-old artist, it's clear that she was only getting started (again). As

Overview

Teena Marie's Sapphire -- named after a nickname given to her by onetime partner and late funk legend Rick James -- doesn't sound like the work of a 50-year-old artist. While 2004's La Doña, Marie's first commercially released album since 1990, hardly sounded like the work of a 48-year-old artist, it's clear that she was only getting started (again). As with La Doña, there's the odd verse where Marie sounds like she's trying too hard to be hip. Longtime fans might also be a little surprised to hear Marie more sexed-up than ever, but any faults or jarring traits are canceled out by the supreme excellence of Marie's voice and the quality of the songs she has written and produced. (She gets some assistance, along with some guest spots from Smokey Robinson, George Duke, Gerald Albright, Kurupt, and daughter Alia Rose, but she calls the shots here as much as she did on any of her albums since Wild and Peaceful.) This is another very long album that never runs out of ideas, with plenty of room for some of her classiest throwback ballads and her most up-to-date, colorful jams. Though some of the songs might be skippable -- it all depends on the mood of the listener -- there's no more meandering here than on any of Marie's half-as-long albums. There's a handful of particularly commanding songs to get stuck on. "Cruise Control," with Smokey Robinson, gets the album going and is pitched brilliantly between Marvin Gaye's "After the Dance" and Robinson's own "Cruisin'." "Make It Hot" bounces and struts with as much irresistible playfulness as "It Must Be Magic" or "Square Biz." "You Blow Me Away," a heartbreaking ballad, references "You and I," "Fire and Desire," and makes its subject completely clear at the very end: "I love you, Rick -- there, I've gone and said it." The greatest knockout of all is "Love Is a Gangsta," a fresh, dynamite acknowledgment of prime Dr. Dre-generated G-funk, with whining synths, sinewy wah-wah guitar, and layered vocal hooks that might make Nate Dogg keel over. Marie is her bad-ass best on this song, and her shout to Pam Grier is extremely apt. Why? Because Sapphire is her Jackie Brown.

Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe - Siddhartha Mitter
This is an appealing throwback album, full of lush synth arrangements over winsome mid-tempo grooves, the perfect sound for songs like the single ``Ooh Wee" about seduction and the high life.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/09/2006
Label:
Cash Money
UPC:
0602498538906
catalogNumber:
000646802

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Teena Marie   Primary Artist,Guitar,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Smokey Robinson   Guest Appearance
Gerald Albright   Saxophone,Guest Appearance
George Duke   Piano,Guest Appearance
Val Young   Background Vocals
John Acosta   Cello
Bridgette Bryant   Background Vocals
Larry Corbett   Cello
Charles Everett   Violin
Doug Grigsby   Bass,Keyboards
Michael Markman   Violin
Dennis Molchan   Violin
Greg Moore   Guitar
Maria Newman   Viola
Edward Persi   Viola
Maxine Willard Waters   Background Vocals
Wali Ali   Guitar
Hernan Constantino   Violin
Allen McGrier   Keyboards
Morris O'Connor   Guitar
Edmund Stein   Violin
Julia Waters   Background Vocals
Nick Grant   Violin
Rudy Stein   Cello
Dede O'Neal   Background Vocals
Kurupt   Guest Appearance
Michael Miller   Guitar
Noriko Olling   Piano
Carolyn Riley   Viola
Alicia Engley   Violin
Igor Pandurski   Violin
Paul Manaster   Violin
Scott Hosfeld   Viola
Gerry Hillera   Violin
Jenesaisquoi   Background Vocals
Dwight Seales   Guitar
Yao Zao   Cello
Alia Rose   Background Vocals
Todor Pelev   Violin

Technical Credits

Teena Marie   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,Executive Producer,drum programming
Gerald Albright   Horn Arrangements
Doug Grigsby   Composer,Producer,drum programming
Erik Zobler   Engineer
Allen McGrier   drum programming
Tony Shepard   Vocal Engineer
Victor Vanacore   String Arrangements
Ronald Williams   Executive Producer
Bryan Williams   Executive Producer
Lorna Leighton   Art Direction,Images
Chad Wright   drum programming
Robert Brooks   Engineer
Lee Cadena   Management
Michael Vaccaro   String Contractor

Customer Reviews

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Sapphire 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoy Ms Teena still writing ballads and collaraborating with other legends/ rb/ rap ! Continue doing your thing you still write love music loving,sexy with class!! Butter Bean
Guest More than 1 year ago
After the death of Rick James, no one expected the type of album Teena Marie would come out with. Would it be sad and mournful? Teena comes out with an explosive force...it is a celebration of the life of Rick James and it shows the growth as an artist and the revelance she has as an artist. La Dona was a really good album the Cash Money Production and her contributions from her defunct "Black Rain" album were great... but Sapphire takes it to the next level. Ooo Wee is soulful and funky, Cruise Control a duet with Smokey Robinson is sexy and hip. My highlights are near the end of the album the thrilling Ecstacy and the best honoring of the People of New Orleans sung by Marie and her daughter "Sapphire". The songs honoring Rick James are awesome and the lyrics are strong without.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would give this 6 stars if possible! Teena is definetly what music is all about. These so called stars of today should try and learn how to make REAL music. Full length songs on a full lentgh album, and she can really make you feel her love for Rick James.. Her voice is a gift from God. Go get this album and her lasr album and get taken back in time when music was worth listening too!
amargi More than 1 year ago
I only have one complaint about this cd. For the first time ever, Teena does not include a copy of the song lyrics with the liner notes. I have every cd that this woman has ever released and I can honestly say that this one ranks right up there with her best stuff of the 80's (with anything she's EVER done)Some highlites for me include: A.P.B, Somebody just like you, You blow me away, Simmer down and Ladies Choice, but it is all wonderful. This should have gotten WAY more airplay than it has...