First, I would like to say that I am so excited to hear about Anita Baker’s upcoming studio project which will be recorded in Nashville. My favorite quote from Anita about the album(besides the fact that she will be working with Snoop)is that the reason she wanted to record in Nashville is because engineers still know how to work in analog. Ahh analog!

For me, Ms. Baker has always represented “real music” oddly enough I did not start out as fan, quite to the contrary. When “Sweet Love” was released it just did not pull me in at all. I was a little young(Ok, not all that young) to know about her first solo effort with the classic “Angel” and her work with Chapter 8. I had completely written Anita Baker off and then something happened…I heard “Rapture” by accident because the radio was on but I was somewhere between sleep and pretending to do homework(I can be honest about it now). The sound hit me like a ton of bricks from that opening chord with all the 80’s Yamaha DX7 loveliness that you can stand, to the smoky alto that is most undeniably Anita Baker. I’ve been hooked ever since.

I was watching an interview a few weeks ago where someone was lamenting about the state of R&B music in the 80’s and how it was a very mature arena and how the music wasn’t youth-driven at all. They proceeded to give themselves the proverbial pat on the back by saying they were able to come in and capitalize by making youth centered music and change the culture of R&B. Yes, that did happen. Was it for the best? I don’t know? But I will say this…there was a time where you could find a teenager listening to Anita Baker right along with P.E., Boogie Down Productions and whatever else. Is there an equivalent of that these days? Truth be told Anita Baker was in her late 20’s when Rapture was released and her musical statement was as mature as you can get. Why do you have artists these days who are older(some by more than a decade) releasing material that is primed for middle school playground conversation?

P.S. I love this live clip for many reasons…one of which is to see the great Gerald Albright on Bass.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.