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Soulful songbird Rebecca Jade's well-oiled quartet made their 98 Bottles debut on Sept. 6, laying it down before a packed-house of devoted listeners.

Obviously well-rehearsed, the Jade group sounds much larger than a vocalist plus instrumental trio -- each musician sang flawless harmonies-- they could have easily gotten the gig as conventional back-up singers -- the fact that they were all master musicians was welcome icing on the cake.

Opening with Roberta Flack's classic "Feel Like Making Love," over the lock-step of Michael Kennedy's bass and the sly rimshot groove of Damion Willis's drums, Jade's laid-back sorcery dovetailed tightly with her associates.

Utilizing jazz phrasing layered atop a strutting funk beat on "Just Squeeze Me," Jade soared with warm fluidity and special guest Wayne Braxton's tenor saxophone carved curlicues around the changes.

Jade's voice is athletic, but not muscle-bound, and she can stretch and pull at a melody without resorting to the histrionic overuse of melisma that has ruined so many contemporary singers in this genre. On an impressive arrangement of "Ain't No Sunshine," she ripped through original verses with clarity before locking in on the chorus.

Micah Whitley handled the harmonic responsibilities with admirable taste, voicing his chords for maximum support and crafting concise and relevant solos at will, and the blend of Kennedy's bass and Willis' drums made for some serious groove all evening. Braxton added a nice, soul-jazz touch to much of the material, including a rippling solo on "Pure Imagination," which Jade decorated with power, range and focus.

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Jade

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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