March 5, 1056 - December 26, 2010
Where were you when the music stopped? It was just confirmed that one of the most dynamic singers of our time, Teena Marie, passed away early yesterday. She was only 54 years old.
Often, we link music to events in our lives: weddings, funerals, births, first kisses, so on and so forth, and while I'm not one who can remember exactly where I was or what I was doing when a particular song played, I'm certain that Teena Marie's music was there, somewhere in the background. From the time I purchased her first album, "Wild and Peaceful" as a child (which, coincidentally, was the first album that I had saved my allowance to purchase), she has provided the soundtrack of my life; from slow and languid ballads like Deja Vu and Cassanova Brown to the sexier compositions such as Portuguese Love and Dear Lover to the more infectious, up-tempo pieces like Behind The Groove and Square Biz. Teena Marie's musical talents encompassed all genres: R&B, Jazz, blues, pop, rock and even hip-hop. There have been very few musicians who are/were as talented as Lady T. She was a writer, arranger, composer, producer, instrumentalist and percussionist. Other than Prince and Stevie Wonder, who else, in our time, can claim to be this gifted? I was fortunate to have met her on several occasions around town, and I'm very happy to note that she was as warm and inviting in person as she appeared on stage; welcoming you into her lyrical embrace. When she walked out on that stage, you knew that you were going to get a full TWO HOUR show. You never felt shortchanged at one of her concerts, as I've often felt with other musicians. She always sang the classics (in their entirety!) as well as a sprinkling of the new pieces. Without hyperbole, I can say that she was indeed the best at what she did. Prayers and sympathy to her family and loved-ones, particularly, her only child, daughter, Alia Rose. Rest in Peace, Lady T.
Here's a snippet of Lady T doing what she did best...
3. Irons In The Fire, 1980 4. It Must Be Magic, 1981 5. Robbery, 1983
6. Starchild, 1984 7. Emerald City, 1986 8. Naked To The World, 1988
9. Ivory, 1990 10. Passion Play, 1994 11. La Dona, 2004
12. Sapphire, 2006 13. Congo Square, 2009
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA., January 2011