There are voices in jazz that are so distinctively seductive and powerful that “incomparable” does no real service in describing these gems. The ever-popular and magnetic Maysa fits into that category like a glove. In fact, I’m inclined to say that she practically owns it. Opera-trained and as fluid as smooth wine, this magnificent, sexy songstress never disappoints, as is evident in her latest, Metamorphosis.
From the opening track, “Simpatico,” a melodic mover that features her on lead and backing vocals (as is the case with most of the tracks here) to the sultry “Destiny” featuring saxman/flutist Najee on through the scat-happy “A Conversation With the Universe,” Maysa just keeps pulling at your soul strings with the confidence only found in one so gifted.
Going from the sultry to the powerfully driving, the tunes all tease, inspire, push, and pull. An example of this drive would be “Let’s Figure It Out,” the piece written for Bluey Maunick, the masterful founder of Incognito, featuring the energetic guitar of Nick Colionne, who is also featured here on “Higher Love.” In a word, the album will affect you.
Whether this phenom is joining Bluey and Incognito or treating us to a solo project, the same unmistakable quality shines through almost effortlessly. The title of this project suggests that, as she states, “I am changing, rearranging my mind, my body, my soul, growing better, feeling stronger…slowly, but surely, my metamorphosis has begun.” I would say that, whatever metamorphosis she has set out to effect can only be a huge success, but, in my opinion, that which has always defined and identified her as one of the premier voices in the business remains very much intact. Her perceived need to change only reveals her desire to perfect the perfect. How commendable and remarkable! That just means her music will always strive to please, motivate, and excite—with each album seeking to outdo the last. How’s that for commitment??
As if her music and extraordinary vocals weren’t enough, this exciting sweetheart of smooth jazz has a way with the spoken word, as she addresses issues that others would rather avoid for fear of offending, like admitting that she needs a man, as track 5 conveys, despite her numerous individual and personal accomplishments—acknowledging that we all need each other and that the once-traditional and acceptable desire to have someone special with whom to share life is not something that shows weakness or dependence but rather perhaps the way things were intended to be...shared.
This is just the latest of greatness displayed by this vocal virtuoso with the enviable range. An album of change but of more of the same, as well. Witness it.Posted by Ronald Jackson at November 29, 2008 1:12 AM