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Raphael Saadiq at the 9:30 Club, 2/7

BY ARTHUR PESCAN// Raphael Saadiq’s winter tour supporting his latest album, Jimmy Lee, will come to the District’s 9:30 Club on February 8 and 9. Extended to two nights, Saadiq’s engagement is expected to draw sell out crowds. Doors open at 7 PM; tickets start at $40.

One of R&B’s most boundary-pushing modern influences, Saadiq’s latest album sees him delve head-first into introspection, letting fans into his deeply personal past. Named after his older brother who passed away of a heroin overdose when Saadiq was young, the album is a poignant meditation on addiction, trauma, and the cathartic therapy that music can bring. Songs like “Kings Fall” and “I’m Feeling Love” show Saadiq at his best, mixing the timeless groove that has defined his solo career with lyrics that brilliantly expose the grief and vulnerability that comes with a loved one’s loss. Saadiq even pays homage to his roots with the mid-album track, “Belongs to God” - what seems like a straight-played gospel song proves itself a stunning synthesis of the arc of Saadiq’s whole career, willing to transform, develop, and merge styles into a whole far greater than it’s parts.

What else would you expect though from the musician’s musician of the R&B world? The past few years have seen Saadiq pick up an Oscar nomination (Mudbound’s Mighty River,” cowritten with Mary J. Blige and Taura Stinson), produce Solange’s acclaimed LP, A Seat At the Table, and hint at a reunion of his classic 90’s group, Tony! Toni! Tone! Now with the tour of Jimmy Lee, Raphael Saadiq proves his peak just keeps on grooving, more real than ever.

Patrik Hamberg [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

Image was cropped.