Neo-soul heaven here, a long time coming.
Fortysomething soul phenonemon Maxwell happily further strengthens his already formidable reputation here a long time since he had a record. It’s not a huge leap on from listening to someone like Bilal or José James to cross away from their jazzier sound to the velvety laidback swoon of Maxwell. And Maxwell, not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, has always had jazzers on board, Robert Glasper the coolest of all the names here.
Part two of a story that began with (upper case positioning important, infuriatingly, note) BLACKsummers’night back in 2009, how long we have to wait for the last part of the trilogy is unknowable. There’s a retro style here and a grandeur in the setting that connects with the past but does not deny the pop production taste of the present and if you were playing this record in a mix of classic black music you’d be subconsciously reaching for the ballads of Otis and OV Wright, Isaac Hayes and Marvin even Prince maybe settling on flecks of Al Green for the more spiritual side while you’re at it, Maxwell fits right in.
Maxwell's tender voice and vocal command sit well with all these great names especially in the all encompassing loverman role he adopts as part of the whole laidback seductive affair you can hear on ‘Lake by the Ocean’ and ‘Hostage’ just two of a bunch of the many choice songs. Simply a thrill. SG