Chaka Khan is one of most distinct personalities on American scene in seventies and eighties. Her career in entertainment was spectacular sequence of successes while her style encloses various styles of pop, jazz, funk, soul, disco and R&B which became her basic genre assignment. She was leading vocalist of Rufus band from the very beginning in 1973 to the last album Stompin’ At the Savoy – Live ten years later. Simultaneously from 1978 she was publishing her own albums. Her first solo album Chaka with Michael and Randy Bracker, David Sanborn, Airto Moreira, George Benson, Anthony Jackson, Whitney Huston, Luther Vandross and large group of session musicians exploded as an instant success. Opening song I’m Every Woman became Chaka Khan’s hallmark hit. The same year she was featured performer of Stuff Like That by Quincy Jones and next year she recorded with Ry Cooder for his Bop Till You Drop album.
|Chaka Khan – I Feel For You (1984)|
Recorded in 1984 I Feel for You was sixth solo album of Chaka Khan and her first production after separating with Rufus band. Comparing this set of songs to her earlier records, it looks like artist was searching for wider and more elastic style with principle to last enough clear to be compatible to pop music but still deeply expressive. Solution she found was crossover somewhere between soul singing, jazz phrasing, popular dance rhythm intensity and density of big band orchestrations. Her new style sounded like it was strictly connected to songs of Prince and Stevie Wonder and shortly gave her position of a big star of pop and R&B in eighties. For almost decade pop charts appeared her new frontier.
Success of this album came with three elements, beautifully written songs, powerful vocal parts of diverse expression and new sound structures. Thank to the state of the art electronic equipment and instruments like Synclavier, the most advanced synthesizer of the decade, new way of recording and organizing musical material and new vision of sound was totally different than before. The accompaniment is not organized in lineup anymore. Various instrumental parts are assembled more like in symphonic music which is different than rock and roll, pop or jazz groups traditions. We can hear even Stevie Wonder playing harmonica in tittle song. Producers carefully chose program with some covers of Prince and Burt Bacharach songs. And every element gives space for vocal extravaganza. Even after three decades of modern production in pop music, this record remains exceptional, it can amaze and is still worth of consideration.