Maysa - Sweet Classic Soul (2005)

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In the last year, the world of music has rediscovered 70s soul in a big way, with classic soul cover albums of varying quality by Freddie Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Patti LaBelle and Jeffrey Osborne, among others.  So, I was a little leery of hearing yet another one -  Maysa's new release, Sweet Classic Soul.  However, happily, it is the best of the bunch, an album that avoids being overly nostalgic and instead moves classic material into Maysa's adult soul/smooth jazz world, taking a batch of 10 great songs in a fresh, different direction.  Nowhere is this more obvious than on "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which is removed from its ordinarily hushed, reverential tone and is given a smoky, jazzy arrangement that works beautifully. 

In the last year, the world of music has rediscovered 70s soul in a big way, with classic soul cover albums of varying quality by Freddie Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Patti LaBelle and Jeffrey Osborne, among others.  So, I was a little leery of hearing yet another one -  Maysa's new release, Sweet Classic Soul.  However, happily, it is the best of the bunch, an album that avoids being overly nostalgic and instead moves classic material into Maysa's adult soul/smooth jazz world, taking a batch of 10 great songs in a fresh, different direction.  Nowhere is this more obvious than on "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which is removed from its ordinarily hushed, reverential tone and is given a smoky, jazzy arrangement that works beautifully. 

A couple dance tunes come off as filler here, but otherwise there's a whole lot to like, especially covers of "Wishing On A Star," "Come Go With Me," "Love Won't Let Me Wait," and especially the Isleys' "Don't Say Goodnight," a gorgeous version that may actually surpass the original.  Sweet Classic Soul demonstrates that Maysa is a notable musical interpreter and again reminds us of her status as one of the great soul singers of our time.  Recommended.

By Chris Rizik

 
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