En Vogue Bring Veteran Sass to Jazz in the Gardens
More than two decades ago, production team Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy had a music brainchild and named it En Vogue. They assembled an all female vocal quartet, gave them some songs to sing, and watched as the ladies began to make their mark on music history. En Vogue became the modern day R&B answer to the Supremes and set the bar high for future acts like Destiny’s Child.
The group’s first album went platinum. The second album earned them five Grammy nominations. The music video for ‘Free Your Mind’ won three MTV Video Music Awards in 1993. Soul Train honored them with the distinguished Entertainer of the Year Award. And the accolades just kept coming. Billboard Magazine dubbed En Vogue the 18th most successful act of the 1990s.
The group has changed members a few times over the years and experienced a lot of downtime in between releases. Yet every time the original four divas reunite, they bring back that original spark as if nothing ever happened.
On Sunday evening (March 20), a little older and a little wiser, Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones, Dawn Robinson and Terry Ellis brought that spark to the 6th Annual Jazz in the Gardens festival in Miami. But they didn’t just bring it, they brought it.
The first couple of songs were shaky due to some sound issues in the stage monitors. But once technical difficulties were set aside, En Vogue put on a show with as much energy and presence as they started out with more than 20 years ago. They still ripped on the harmonies, they still knew how to move and they still looked good doing it.
The first half of the performance was a non-stop energy tour through some of the best music in history. They breathed new life into some old classics like Creedance Clearwater Revival‘s ‘Proud Mary (Rolling on a River),’ Chaka Khan‘s ‘Tell Me Something Good’ and Donna Summer‘s ‘Bad Girls.’
“Those are some of the songs that inspired us,” they told the crowd just before breaking into a little Curtis Mayfield. The ladies then reintroduced some of their own hits including ‘Free Your Mind’ and ‘My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get it)’ and ‘Whatta Man,’ from their 1993 collaboration with Salt-N-Pepa.
Not a single person in the crowd of hundreds could be seen sitting down for the performance. It was an hour-long party of people who could not stop waving their arms and dancing as they sang along to the music.
En Vogue has been touring steadily since 2009, and will continue touring in select U.S. cities through May of this year. There’s no telling if or when the flame will ever go out for these four funky divas.