From acid-jazz collective to mellow Ibizan house masterminds, A Man
Called Adam have pursued much the same fusion of gentle jazz/house
rhythms with classic pop songwriting despite the progression of
stylistic identifiers used to describe their sound. Comprised of Sally
Rodgers and Steve Jones, the group has not only courted the middle-aged
coffee-table crowd with a sophisticated sense of pop songcraft, but
also kept a close connection to the dance community, courtesy of their
ownership of Other Records, a jazz-house label with releases from Coco
Steel & Lovebomb, Rosie Gaines, and Maria Naylor. A Man Called
Adam’s ethereal female vocals and inspirations from jazz as well as
house make for easy comparisons with Everything But the Girl, though
Rodgers and Jones gradually became more pop-slanted during the ’90s, as
EBTG leaned closer and closer to the dancefloor.
A Man Called Adam was originally founded as a jazz band, led by Sally Rodgers, Steve Jones, and Paul Daley (later to form Leftfield). Signed to the pioneering Acid Jazz Records enabled the group to find more gigs, and debut with a pair of singles. These early recordings, “A.P.B.” and “Earthly Powers,” reflected more recent influences — namely the acid-house explosion which had rocked British clubs and charts during the late ’80s. Winnowed down to a threesome of Rodgers/Jones/Daley, A Man Called Adam signed to Big Life in 1990 and just missed the British Top 40 that year with “Barefoot in the Head.” After Daley left the fold, Rodgers and Jones followed with their first LP, The Apple. Unhappy with their treatment by Big Life (a sentiment echoed by the Orb at the same time), Rodgers and Jones decided to form their own label, Other Records, with design artist and longtime friend Steve “Jaffa” Gribbin.
Perhaps due to their new interests in label management, Rodgers and Jones didn’t release much A Man Called Adam material during the mid-’90s. (They did have some input on the Fear of Flying LP released by Other act Sensory Productions, and released singles on Other as Beachflea). By the end of the decade, the brand of uptempo yet slightly melancholy jazz-house pioneered by the duo became incredibly popular as a soundtrack for British club-kids vacationing in the dancefloor paradise known as Ibiza. The singles “Easter Song,” “Estelle,” and “All My Favourite People (Stay with Me)” became Ibiza anthems, and A Man Called Adam made appearances on many club compilations. The pair’s second album, Duende, finally appeared in 1998.