Maysa - Metamorphosis (2008)

Maysa
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Maysa's last couple of Shanachie albums have focused on covers of R&B and soul classics, deftly delivered by the singer - known for her solo work and her recordings with Incognito - with passion and skill.

Her latest set for the label sees a shift in approach: Metamorphosis features original material and the result is a deeply satisfying set that showcases Maysa's mellifluous vocals. The album flows with musical consistency: it is unquestionably one of Maysa's best recordings to date, on a parallel with the superb 2004 set, Smooth Sailing.

Maysa's last couple of Shanachie albums have focused on covers of R&B and soul classics, deftly delivered by the singer - known for her solo work and her recordings with Incognito - with passion and skill.

Her latest set for the label sees a shift in approach: Metamorphosis features original material and the result is a deeply satisfying set that showcases Maysa's mellifluous vocals. The album flows with musical consistency: it is unquestionably one of Maysa's best recordings to date, on a parallel with the superb 2004 set, Smooth Sailing.

Producers include Rex Rideout (known for his quality work with Will Downing and Ledisi among others) and Chris "Big Dog" Davis (whose recent triumphs have included albums with Phil Perry and George Clinton). Standouts are hard to pick since Metamorphosis is best considered as a complete recording, but a pair of Brazilian-flavored cuts - the stunning opener "Simpatico" and "Higher Love" are excellent. With echoes of EW&F, "Happy Feelings" (neither the EW&F nor Maze song with the same title) is an upbeat groove cut written and produced by neo-soul favorite Angela Johnson; "My Destiny" could just as easily belong on an Incognito CD; while "Let's Figure It Out" starts out as a jazz piece before segueing into a hypnotic dance jam.

Particularly noteworthy: the gentle and soothing "Grateful;" and "Walk Away," reflective of a true life experience that Maysa related to her good friend Ledisi, who co-wrote it with producer/songwriter Lorenzo Johnson.

"Love So True" is a beautiful acoustic ballad and the percussive Afro-flavored "Conversation With The Universe" (with Global Noize) - unlike anything else on the album - is a wonderful reminder of Maysa's jazz leanings, a fine closeout cut for this five-star set.    

With special guests that include Najee and drummer Michael White, Metamorphosis is - track for track - one of 2008's best albums, and a career triumph for this outstanding and distinctive artist.

David Nathan
http://www.soulmusic.com

 
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