CD Review: Teena Marie

Teena Marie
ICON
Universal Motown/UME
By David Chiu

It is very fitting that this hits collection by the late and great Teena Marie is part of UME’s ICON series because that’s what this artist was—an iconic legend in R&B music. The surprise of her recent passing still hasn’t worn off given the fact that Lady T was still making fantastic music in the last couple of years. Thus, this music, focusing her years with Motown in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, is a tribute to a determined artist who projected both funk and sensuality. There is a feisty, almost rock attitude in her performances especially on disco-influenced, uptempo tracks like “Square Biz,” “I Need Your Love” and “Behind the Groove.” Yet, Marie also displayed a very romantic and tender side on lovely slow jams such as “Portuguese Love “and “Irons in the Fire.” Like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell and other famous male-female musical pairings, Marie will always been forever associated with her mentor Rick James and their stunning duet “Fire and Desire.” This ICON CD is a worthy collection to a great artist of Marie’s caliber.

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