Al-Saadi's vocals are strong and warm and pitch perfect. He belts out blues standards with the proper growl in his voice, and romances his listeners with syrupy singing in "The Way You Look Tonight." He can do a soulful version of Ray Charles or a funky Stevie Wonder, improvising all around the vocal line while still offering the refinement of a trained musician.
Although I didn't see him perform any originals, Al-Saadi wrote songs for Blue Vinyl, the band he led as a Community High student, and there are some new originals in his live repertoire. Given the talents he has to draw on, and the range of musical styles with which he is comfortable, I'd be interested to hear some of his current compositions. Though I wouldn't wish rock-star fame on anyone, a lifelong career as a notable performer certainly seems in order.
Laith Al-Saadi is at Goodnite Gracie on Thursday, October 10 and 24.
Photograph by J. Adrian Wylie
[Originally published in October, 2002.]