10 essential Quiet Storm gems… Quiet Storm! But what is this about? Are we talkin’ about another genre? Well, not really as a matter of fact. But more of a derivative if not a deviation. And, to be more precise, the so to say R&B answer to the 70’s Soft Rock. But first and foremost, a late night radio programming format which Melvin Lindsey pioneered on Chicago WHUR-FM. The term coming from the classic song of the name which Smokey Robinson released back in 1976. And even though the line remains quite thin with slow dance, one could aptly consider some of them as lazy jams to a certain extend.
Besides, no doubt as to how Quiet Storm in itself tells a lot about the theme of these songs. With most of them bringing us from self-encouraging to tentatively persuasive messages. Not to mention bittersweet love affairs, which shouldn’t come as a surprise at the end.
As a result, expect nothing but the transportation of the minds, hearts and souls when givin’ a listen to the songs we’ve listed.
Therefore, and as always, a selection is per definition limited. Even though God knows how these matters have been on the lips of numerous artists. Meanwhile bringing many of us to dream, think, pray along with the circumstances.
As a result, many are those we couldn’t talk about here. Even though they would have definitely deserved a mention. Nevertheless, you should find thereafter a pretty much illustrative sample of highly emotional pieces of art where the quality predominates. Be it from the melody and the arrangements, the lyrics and/or the vocal performances. And most likely altogether as one.
Wishing you’ll enjoy the ride as much as we did, while putting it together for you. With your feedback, and eventually a mention of your favorite song more than welcome…
By the one – Smokey Robinson – who helped setting up Quiet Storm as, if not a genre, at least a mood back in 1976. We find him 11 years later with the opening track to his ‘One Heartbeat’ album. There, he delivers this self-encouraging message in his instantly identifiable style. A song which therefore would get him to win a Grammy Award in the category of Best Male R&B Vocal performance…
The kind of (Californian) Soft Rock that most likely influenced Quiet Storm. Not that surprising at the end considering the presence of producer Russ Titelman. A man who has worked with luminaries such as Chaka Khan, George Benson and Graham Central Station to name a few. But also the contributions of Gwen Dickey and Patti Austin in the backing vocals. Not to mention David Sandborn on alto saxophone.
Jazz guitarist/singer George Benson opening his account on Warner Bros. back in June 1976 with the majestically orchestrated ‘This Masquerade’. A bittersweet theme which he most likely made his, takin’ it from Leon Russell‘s repertoire. The first single from his 1977 ‘Breezin” album with producer Tommy LiPuma, it most likely opened his most successful period [More…]
Soul/Jazz songstress Anita Baker reachin’ one of her definitive peaks back in 1988 with the title track from her album of the likes. A vibrant statement which we’ve also listed as a part of our 10 essential Love songs. It earned Baker no less that 4 nominations at the Grammys. And it deservedly won in the categories Best Female R&B Vocal performance and Best R&B Song [More…]
‘All Night Long (All Night)’, ‘Penny Lover’. But also ‘Stuck On You’, ‘Running With The Night’ and ‘Hello’… As many gems which have highly contributed helping Lionel Richie‘s ‘Can’t Slow Down’ to spend some 59 consecutive weeks in the US Top 10 albums back in 1984. But what about ‘Love Will Find A Way’? Nothing, as Motown didn’t do any better than releasing it as the flipside of ‘Dancing On The Celling’. One of their biggest mistakes ever as it’s probably one of Richie‘s best songs ever [More…]
Twisted (on your love) pretty much says everything about the internal storm Ultra Naté feels taken into. Delivering her bittersweet love message in a soft and quiet way. With UK production pair 4Hero twisting their Broken Beat vibes to turn the whole into a low key downtempoed affair. Quiet storm? This is just about it!
Multi-instrumentalist Courtney Pine has established himself as a key figure in the British Jazz scene. Eventually venturing into electronic and Drum & Bass territories. The founder of the Jazz Warriors, he showed his ability to craft incredible harmonies. From his 1992 ‘To The Eyes of Creation’ album, the mellow although quite underrated ‘Life Goes Round’ illustrates his aptitude to play around a singer. We’re speakin’ here of the sultry Juliet Roberts [More…]
With no offense to Caliber and Expansion who released it respectively Stateside and in the UK, I tend to think Howard Hewett would have got wider exposure on a major label. Nevertheless, he delivered another bunch of extra masterpieces on his 1994 ‘It’s Time’ album. Beginning with the one of a kind ‘Crystal Clear’. In the footsteps of ‘Heaven Sent You’ and ‘Fantasy Love’ which he recorded with Stanley Clarke.
A quick look at various expression forms of music tells us as to how Quiet Storm had much of an influence. With Neo-Soul makin’ no exception. Maxwell delivering many illustrations to this. Beginning with the Swaying ‘I’m You (Your Are Me And We Are You’). Almost like a lazy jam if not a downtempo which he sung blending parts of Spanish [More…]
OMG! Such an underrated although incredible talent… WDC hailing artist Danny Madden has spent most of his life in the shadow. Writing, producing and singing for the others. From Ultra Naté to Frankie Knuckles or Byron Stingily to name a few. He had his only moment under the spotlight with the vibrant ‘The Facts Of Life’. More of a lazy jam which found extra echo as a part of the ‘New Jack City’ OST in the early 90’s.