Thursday, December 25, 2008


Normally, I only blog about jazz music. I made an exception, Seal, because your new album Seal Soul astonished me. I planned to write about your album the day after I purchased it, but I received an email from my editor, W. Kim Heron, at the Metrotimes, a weekly newspaper in Detroit, MI. I write about jazz for, informing me jazz pianist Kenn Cox died after an unsuccessful battle with lung cancer.

The day I designated to write about Seal Soul I instead eulogized Cox. I knew his death was inevitable, but I was still saddened when it finally happened. Cox official going home memorial is Saturday, and I may skip it. Anyway, Seal today is Christmas. I am ready to write about your album.

I fell for Seal Soul after the first listen. Several years ago, my friend, Rene, (not her real) introduced me to your work. I recall one evening I visited her. While she cooked, I picked through her album collection. I disliked her taste, and I often teased her about it. She only had one jazz album James Carter's Conversatin' With the Elders. I asked, as she chopped up a tomato and a head of lettuce for a salad why she purchased that albums. She could not recall, but she disliked it, commenting it was too disjointed for her taste. I did not ask for an explanation. I put it away. Then pulled out one of your albums. I cannot recall the title.

You were nude on the cover. You looked spooky. I told Rene I wanted to improve her taste in music. She smirked. Then called me a one dimensional jazz nut, and encouraged me to play the album. Initially I bulked, telling Rene I was reluctant to because I was hungry and the album may kill my appetite. She threatened not to feed me. So I played the album under duress. I liked it immediately. Seal I cannot remember the name of the songs.

Over dinner, Rene said you look sexy in leather pants. She offered no insight about what attracted her to your music. Sometimes Rene talked to me as if I am one of her girlfriends, and sometimes when she does I ignore her. Occasionally, I have to remind her I am a guy; I do not want to hear how sexy some guy is. Seal, I added you have a good voice, but I refused to remark about your sex appeal. You are a serious artist. That should be acknowledged. I have not talked to Rene in weeks.

I don't know if she purchased Seal Soul. If she did, I wonder if she likes it as much as I do. Presently, Seal, I feel uncomfortable saying I am a fan. I own only one of your albums Seal Soul. A devoted fan would own all your work, and could recite your biography. I know you are married to super model Heidi Klum, and you made this great album Seal Soul that I play at least four times a week.

Your voice suits the 13 classic soul songs you chose to perform. You did not imitate the singers who made A Change Is Gonna Come, It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World, I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, People Get Ready and I’m Still Living You. You approached those soul classic as if you wrote them, and experienced each lyric. You were that thorough. On the surface, it seems challenging, but you make it look easy.

Seal Soul is an homage to those artists. If James Brown, Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield, and Otis Redding were still alive they would be elated you handled their music like valuable heirlooms. The next time I talk with Rene I will tell her one day I plan to be a Seal fan, and less of a one dimensional jazz snob.
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