Thursday, 19 February 2009

Maysa - Metamorphosis

“Metamorphosis” is the most consistent set that this gorgeous Lady has given to us to date, and let's face it this Lady has never let us down. Bluey and Incognito were very astute to embrace Maysa Leak into their fold and the solid work carried out with Incognito, and her work within the US for Blue Thumb / GRP and N-Coded Music and now Shanachie have augmented the Lady's stature manifold. As with Phil Perry's latest set, Shanachie have finally allowed these great talents to record albums of NEW material – what should have been done all along in my sincere opinion. Here in the UK the album is released by the ever faithful Expansion records and more credit to them for supporting quality music at a time when many are bypassing it. Get the Cd out of it's case, pop in in your player and do nothing but sit back with a bottle of the vin rouge and cuddle up to that someone special. Maysa, along with producer Rex Rideout has served up a tasty album for sure. Comparisons have been made with the last Ledisi set, but for my money this wins hands down. No arm twisting was needed for me – I wasn't even 30 seconds into “My Destiny” when I was sold on the CD. The groove is a chunky bubbler and features our dear friend, Najee on flute, sounding splendid as he always does. The earthier and rollickingly good “Simpatico” creates atmosphere with dominant synth, funky keys and a rumbling bass. Maysa also sounds very dusky on this, and the synth changes almost come across in a Leon Ware fashion! The superb “Never Really Ever” will not disappoint, as will the wonderfully Latin acoustic number “Higher Love” featuring Najee and Nick Colionne. The aptly titled “Take Me Away” certainly won't have any hassle under the Trades Descriptions Act and the deep, sexy and Latin-tinged “Grateful” would not be out of place on, say, a Fourplay album. Fans of the wonderful Angela Johnson will rejoice in the uptempo “Happy Feelings”, a track of many textures and layers...the galloping percussion at first seems out of kilter with Maysa's silky vocals, but add to this the superb 80s keys and haunting synth then the gel is there drawing this treat together. Juxtaposed to this is the dirty, slow grind of “Love So True” which reminds me of what we would have expected a good decade ago. If you loved Lalah Hathaway's latest CD then “Walk Away” could easily slot into the playlist; I can hear Lalah delivering this with ease. For the UK are 2 bonus cuts – a lovely rendition of Michael Jackson's finest moment from “Off The Wall” - “I Can't Help It” and Stevie Wonder's timeless “All I Do” - both lifted from her covers albums. The aforementioned wins out for me, but we are splitting hairs here. “Metamorphosis” is a classy album and one of 2008's best.

Barry Towler

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