Archive for January 7th, 2010

Maysa – A Woman In Love

Historically jazz singers have always sung repertoire that transcended musical genres. Ray Charles recorded country songs, Dinah Washington fused blues, rock and pop hits of the day and Ella Fitzgerald took nursery rhymes and swung them into unforgettable hits. Often the true mark of a great singer is the ability to take a song and transform it into something unique and undeniably believable. Singer Maysa does just that every time she steps to the microphone. Maysa is a true original. Blessed with a remarkably beautiful and instantly recognizable voice, the vocalist possesses the ability to know just where to take a song and what to do to unearth the heart of it and drive it home.

Maysa is a singer who is at home in any musical context whether it be jazz, soul, funk or R&B. She is also a first rate composer. It is no wonder why Jazziz Magazine calls her “One of the most identifiable and consistently enjoyable singers on the scene today!” and why The Baltimore Sun calls Maysa “one of the best singers in underground soul.” The songbird, who was a member of Stevie Wonder’s Wonderlove and who was the lead vocalist for the celebrated British jazz/funk group Incognito, has just nabbed a Soul Train Award for “Soul Approved Underground Singer.” For Maysa, singing is truly a labor of love. “I love singing for people and I love helping people get through life’s hard times and celebrations,” confesses the powerhouse vocalist. “I simply love loving people and I do this through my music.”

On Maysa’s new and fourth Shanachie Entertainment recording, A Woman In Love, the refreshingly honest singer explores the many sides of love with a sublime set of eleven tracks that range from classic jazz repertoire to Maysa originals and the more bluesy side of jazz and R&B. “This CD is special tome because I have always wanted to go back to my roots and training as a jazz singer,” says the Baltimore native. “I was trained to sing everything, so I always will. I came up with the concept of mixing the old with the new because I love jazz, soul and R&B so much that it’s all one thing to me.”

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Michael J Thomas – City Beat

Growing up in Cecilia, Kentucky, a small town outside of Elizabethtown, Michael J Thomas was surrounded by country music, which easily could have become his muse. Instead his parents reared him on a steady diet of Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire and Prince. Thus the saxophonist-songwriter learned how to write potent pop hooks set amidst funky and soulful R&B grooves. Thomas wrote or co-wrote all but one song for City Beat, his debut album, which will be released March 2nd on Harbor Breeze Records. Shannon Wallace produced the record with Thomas. Celebrating the vibrant energy and excitement of the city, the title track will preface the album release at radio, which was serviced the single in pursuit of advance airplay.

City Beat is an instrumental R&B-pop collection that chronicles Thomas’ joyful discovery, eager exploration and adventurous wanderings in sprawling metropolises such as New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Bangkok, Thailand. Sophisticatedly cool and cosmopolitan, Midtown Manhattan opens the album on which Thomas wields a tenor, alto and soprano sax. A gorgeous melody laid over the pitter-patter of a gentle brushed drum beat, Wedding Song (Forever Always) poignantly pledges eternal love.

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