Maxwell (R&B) BLACKsummers'night CD

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Maxwell (R&B) BLACKsummers'night CD. Personnel: Hod David (various instruments, guitar); Musze (various instruments); Kenneth Whalum III (saxophone); Keyon Harrold (trumpet); Saunders Sermons (trombone); Shedrick Mitchell (organ); Federico Pena (keyboards); Derrick Hodge (bass instrument); Chris "Daddy" Dave, Chris Dave (drums).
Audio Mixers: Glen Marchese; Mike Pela.
Recording information: Bowery Digital, New York, NY; Chung King Recording Studios, New York, NY; Platinuim Sound Recording Studios, New York, NY.
Photographer: Eric L. Johnson.
It's been eight long years between Maxwell's third and fourth studio albums. BLACKSUMMERS'NIGHT is the first release of a trilogy, with BLACKSUMMERS'NIGHT(rooted in gospel, with a twist, apparently) and BLACKSUMMERS'NIGHT(promised as a disc of slow jams) to follow. Just as Maxwell arrived in 1996, offering an alternative to the exaggerated masculinity that was dominating contemporary R&B, he returns when the airwaves are still stuffed with raging hormones. He has made no concessions to them however--the highly romantic BLACKSUMMERS'NIGHT is all devotion, regret, and heartache. Maxwell's backing musicians morph with every shift in emotion through arrangements that are unfailingly exquisite and sensitively nuanced, even when briskly played. And if the singer got into any adventures while he was away, he does not detail them during these 38 unified minutes. He did go through a serious, failed relationship however, just as "Pretty Wings," the album's floating pre-album single, suggests. Like the real-life flip side to Al Green's "Simply Beautiful"--which Maxwell performed at the 2008 BET Awards, signaling his return--it's catharsis through bittersweet elegance, as is the album as a whole.


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