Remembering Teena Marie30 years in the game!

When a lady has thrived at the epicenter of a musical movement that some initially claimed was not her birthright, and that lady has steadfastly held that legacy down strong for 30 phenomenal years, acknowledgment, respect and celebration are in order. Today, that artist is “Lady Tee,” Teena Marie.

2009 marked the 30th anniversary of Teena Marie’s recording career with the June release of her thirteenth CD, Congo Square – and there’s a milestone for every decade that has led to it. First is the 16-song CD itself, boasting all of the panoramic musicality a fan could desire. Second is her fresh alignment with Stax Records that –after her storied Motown debut in 1979 – marks the second time Teena has been proudly affiliated with a bedrock black music institution. Finally, there’s a more personal revelation regarding her family lineage that once and for all proves why she has been bursting with indisputable soul all these years. Teena has New Orleans roots!

Her album Congo Square is a passionate, accessible and, as always, autobiographical adventure that cruises smoothly from southern soul and smoky jazz to dance floor funk. Along for the party are special guests Faith Evans (on the first single “Can’t Last a Day”), Howard Hewett (on the steamy duet “Lovers Lane”), MC Lyte (on the sexy opener “The Pressure”), the jazz trio of pianist George Duke (on the title track “Congo Square”), drummer/co-composer Terri Lyne Carrington and bassist Brian Bromberg (on the cinematic ballad “The Rose n’ Thorn,” orchestrated by the legendary Paul Riser), and Teena’s daughter Rose LeBeau (on the soul salute “Milk n’ Honey”).”I’ve been through quite a few trials and tribulations over the last two years,” Teena shares regarding the time between her last acclaimed release, Sapphire, and now. “I spent many of those hours in prayer and felt like God was putting his arms around me. I started thinking about the music I grew up on – how inspired it was. Each song I wrote began to sound like the style of some favorite artist of mine from the past… ‘What U Got 4 Me’ is a combination of Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye, ‘You Baby’ is inspired by the old Chicago soul of The Emotions (originally Stax artists in the `70s) and the new Chicago vibe of Kanye West… ‘Baby I Love You’ is my cruising down Crenshaw with Ice Cube bumpin’ in the trunk vibe, while ‘The Pressure’ reminds me of the kinds of things I used to do with Rick.” That would be Rick James, the undisputed king of Punk Funk and epic balladry who produced Teena’s debut record, Wild & Peaceful, consummating a relationship that would take many shapes until his passing in 2004.

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