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July 29, 2005

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Volume 33
Issue 30

 
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Oleta Adams illuminates with uplifting R & B and Gospel sounds
Oleta Adams illuminates with uplifting R & B and Gospel sounds
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Oleta Adams

July 23 @ Dimitriou's Jazz Alley

Just for the heck of it, I ordered a glass of sparkling champagne when I sat down at the bar for Oleta Adams' early Saturday set at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley. I soon realized that this celebratory drink would be the perfect compliment to a classy, on-point performance.

Adams, a Washington state native and multi-Grammy nominee, entranced the lounge in a chartreuse-colored top and patterned summer pants. She and an accompanying four-person band opened with an instrumental piece, before lunging into a medley of "The Power of Sacrifice," "I Just Had to Hear Your Voice" and "Circle of One." A filled Jazz Alley responded with cheers and scattered whistles.

"How can you complain?" asked Adams about the city's 80-plus degree weather. "Seattle was blue today. I walked along the Pier."

Another medley, consisting of "I've Got to Sing My Song," "Rhythm of Life" and "My Heart Won't Lie" had plenty of pizzazz and showcased Adams' heavenly and powerful pipes. She continued with more great numbers, including an electrifying delivery of Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and an inspirationally-charged version of "Window of Hope," a song Adams contributed to the Love Rocks CD compilation that benefited the HRC campaign.

A longtime supporter of the Gay community, Adams has attended and participated at several HRC dinners, including Salt Lake City, Chicago, Austin and San Francisco. The Seattle Gay News attempted an interview with Adams to coincide with her appearance at the Jazz Alley, but a last-minute show addition in the Bahamas prevented us from reaching her. We'll try again next time.

"Tired yet?" asked Adams. "Let's see if we can tire you out." Then she and the band went directly into a saucy rendition of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," which featured impressive lead vocals by guitarist Jimmy Dykes. The quartet also included bassist Paul Peterson, keyboardist Everett Freeman Jr. and drummer John Cushon, Adams' husband.

The climactic moment of the evening was Adams' stirring performance of "Get Here," a song that boosted her career in 1990 when it captured the nation's emotion during the Gulf War. "It's human nature," noted Adams about the timing of the hit single and the coincidental current situation in Iraq. "It's not God's nature. But it's human nature."

Adams completed her dazzling set with a new track introduced as a song about forgiveness. "I haven't recorded it yet, so listen carefully." Absent this time around was Adams' seeping version of Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance."

In total, Adams performed four nights at the Jazz Alley.
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