Sylvester was still alive at the end of 1987, when Ten City’s “Devotion” broke out of the burgeoning Chicago house scene and became an international hit. The disco legend’s spirit is all over these grooves, through. Sylvester’s best work successfully merged spiritual ecstasy with sensual release, topped off by that otherworldly falsetto. Ten City’s Byron Stingily was the rightful heir to that particular throne, and “Devotion” is an especially powerful example of Sylvester’s formula brought into a (slightly) more modern context.
“Devotion” is one of the greatest house music tracks of all time. Hell, it transcends house. The bass line comes from jazz-it’s an adaptation of “Jazz Carnival” by Brazilian fusion outfit Azymuth. The strings are reminiscent of the best Philly soul. And there’s the gospel element I discussed earlier.
I don’t see how anyone gets on a dance floor while this song is playing without catching some kind of spirit.