The making of this article takes me back to a very long time ago...probably over 20 years ago. I once had a friend who was such a fan of Barry Manilow that whenever she heard him singing something like "Mandy" or "I Write The Songs", she would just curl into a ball and perhaps mew. It was like watching a cat reacting to catnip. Now I wouldn't be so extroverted in my reaction to the R&B family DeBarge but I can certainly relate to it when I hear the oh-so-delectable "All This Love" which is one of my all-time favourite songs from the genre, hands down.
I'm getting the same reaction from pianist Satoru Shionoya's（塩谷哲）"Let Love Lead Me" which is a track from his 1995 "Salt II" (too bad it kinda reads like an old international defense treaty).
Ever since first hearing Shionoya's piano work on Sing Like Talking's fantastic "Mitsumeru Ai de"（みつめる愛で）on their "Discovery" album and then realizing that he was also a member of the Japanese salsa band Orquesta De La Luz, I've kept an eye (and ear) on him. I should actually reward myself by purchasing some of his solo albums such as "Salt II".
However, getting back to the song at hand, "Let Love Lead Me" gave me those oh-so-wonderful soul ballad vibes (or perhaps it could be Quiet Storm), thanks to Shionoya's mellow jazz and R&B piano tones and the soaring vocals of Chikuzen Sato（佐藤竹善）from SLT. The first time I heard this, something just shot up and down my back, and memories of the aforementioned DeBarge and Anita Baker came rushing back to me from the 1980s. And I realized once more how much I loved some of the mellower side of R&B from that decade. Shionoya and Sato make a great duo and in fact, the duo has gone to work a number of times through one single and a few albums as the unit Salt & Sugar.
It's hearing music such as "Let Love Lead Me" that has had me hoping that someday there might be a resurgence of Quiet Storm-type of music on both sides of the Pacific. Incidentally, along with Shionoya coming up with the marvelous melody, Cat Gray, who has been heavily involved with Sing Like Talking, provided the lyrics. A nice way to finish a Saturday night.