“Men of Soul” Bring Quiet Storm to Saenger Grand Re-Opening Weekend

If you’re one of those retro-soul enthusiasts who spends half your Jazz Fest at the Congo Square stage, the show you’ve been waiting for is hitting the newly re-opened Saenger Theatre this weekend. All four “Men of Soul” headliners—Peabo Bryson, Jeffrey Osborne, Howard Hewett and Freddie Jackson—racked up stacks of hits and represented the silkier side of R&B that flourished in the ‘80s, lighting up “Quiet Storm” radio formats. The suburban rock audiences who were open-minded enough to embrace Prince and Michael Jackson generally passed on these guys entirely, but it was their loss:  If you’d played Osborne’s “On the Wings of Love” or Bryson’s “Do It With Feeling” more often, your love life would’ve improved.


The "Men of Soul" perform at grand re-opening weekend, September 29 at Saenger Theatre.

Osborne in fact played Congo Square at this year’s Fest and got a strong response, especially since his history is funkier than the rest (He sang for the band L.T.D. before going in a more ballady direction solo). Bryson was the king of romantic duets for a number of years, scoring hits (and maybe even scoring) with Natalie Cole, Melissa Manchester, Roberta Flack, and Regina Belle. Jackson also had a big duet hit, “A Little Bit More” with Melba Moore; and enjoyed an unbroken string of hits between 1985-1992. Titles like “Tasty Love” “Nice & Slow” and “Jam Tonight” should give you a hint of his preferred subject matter. Hewett was originally one-third of Shalamar (along with Jody Watley, who recently hit town for Essence) and sang with jazzmen like George Duke and Joe Sample before 1990’s “Show Me” broke him as a solo artist.

The show begins 7pm on Sunday, September 29 at the Saenger Theater, 1111 Canal St. Tickets are $45-65, information is here.

We couldn’t find any videos of Jeffrey Osborne at Jazz Fest, but here he is with the hit “Love Ballad” a month later at the Capital Jazz Festival in Maryland.