Maysa - A Woman In Love

Maysa
Maysa110.thumbnail.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

If a CD of covers, based on past experience, strikes you as vapid or something that doesn't exactly rank as a must-purchase for your music rotation, then do yourself the favor of getting to know A Woman In Love. The fact that it happens to be Maysa's eighth solo release is reason  enough for her loyal fan base, but for those who've yet to discover the delectable depth and range of her elite artistry, this sultry yet spirited collection of jazz standards, steamy soul classics and crisp, contemporary numbers will be a worthy introduction.

If a CD of covers, based on past experience, strikes you as vapid or something that doesn't exactly rank as a must-purchase for your music rotation, then do yourself the favor of getting to know A Woman In Love. The fact that it happens to be Maysa's eighth solo release is reason  enough for her loyal fan base, but for those who've yet to discover the delectable depth and range of her elite artistry, this sultry yet spirited collection of jazz standards, steamy soul classics and crisp, contemporary numbers will be a worthy introduction.

Just like the emotional roller-coaster implied in the title, Ms. Leak's velvety vocals encompass the full range of love's magical beginnings (a delicately nuanced interpretation of "When I Fall In Love"), its starry-eyed honeymoon phase (the shimmering, upbeat title track and a luxurious take on "What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life"), moodier moments of anger and uncertainty (a saucy twist on "I Put A Spell On You," and a surprisingly buoyant "Willow Weep For Me") and everything in-between. With production helmed by herself and Chris "Big Dog" Davis, she uses the confidence built up from years of stage performance and recording to milk the most from every turn of phrase and ad lib without needlessly rushing through the delivery---the effect may be too much for most of the younger ‘microwave' generation to abide, but for those of us who appreciate grown-folks' music, it's the soothing, aural equivalent of milk and honey.

The R&B tracks are just as potent; fans will cheer at the inclusion of Will Downing as a duet partner in the "let's straighten it out" song, "Love Theory," where they creamily coo to one another about working through issues and how to keep the love flame burning bright, and "Spend Some Time," the head-nodding, danceable invitation to that first date, that first kiss and everything electrifying that may happen afterwards. "The Lady in My Life," the seductive ballad that cemented Michael Jackson's status as Lord of the Ladies when Thriller dropped, is reverently covered and gender-correct (even if the title indicates otherwise), yet performed with more vulnerability than the original.

There is a difference between rendering a rote color-by-numbers reinterpretation of other artists' catalogs and using your prowess to re-imagine them into authenticated classics of your own, and that's just what Maysa accomplishes with A Woman In Love. Captivating, sumptuously soulful and replete with varying degrees and eras of jazz, Maysa's latest CD should make the musical masters proud as she simultaneously blazes a path towards her own artistic immorality.

By Melody Charles

 
World Premiere - Chris Jasper - "For The Love of You"
Album of the Month - Jeffrey Dennis - "Lovin On You"
Featured Album - Leon Ware - "Rainbow Deux"

Leave a comment!