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.”

Maysa has studied the great jazz vocalists and come up with her own unique style but within her own voice it is apparent that she has drawn influence from luminaries like Sarah, Ella, Billie, Betty and Dinah. “Sarah Vaughan has been my greatest jazz influence. I patterned my style after her tone and phrasing. Ella Fitzgerald (and later Al Jarreau) influenced my love for the art of scatting but Ella will always be the ‘Queen of Scat’ in my opinion,” declares Maysa. “Billie Holiday influenced my desire and love for moodiness and depth while Dinah Washington inspired me to be classy. And Betty Carter, through her music and performances, taught me to be brave and bold.”

If you have ever seen Maysa in concert then you know it is an unforgettable experience. She has a magnetic presence onstage and is not afraid to take chances musically and personally. She is open and honest. This spirit permeates every note on A Woman In Love. Highlights include a funktified version of the Thelonious Monk classic “’Round Midnight” and a hauntingly beautiful take on the timeless Bergman/Legrand ballad “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life.” “‘Round Midnight’ is my favorite Thelonius Monk tune,” shares Maysa. “I feel every word of those lyrics. I have lived it,” says Maysa. She adds, “‘What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life’ is a beautiful song and the lyrics are wonderful. Barbra Streisand is a master at singing this song. The melodic structure is very challenging and it kicked my butt!”

Also included on A Woman In Love is a sultry duet with the iconic Will Downing called “Love Theory” which Downing co-wrote with Maysa and Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis. Maysa also pays tribute to the‘King of Pop’ with the Rodney Temperton hit “Lady In My Life” from Michael Jackson’s seminal Thriller album. Then there is the free-flowing and Latin-tinged “Am I Wrong (For Lovin’ You)” co-written by Maysa and keyboardist Chris“Big Dog” Davis who also co-produced the CD with Maysa. “Flora Purim and the Brazilian ‘Maysa’ started my love of Latin music which will always be a part of my songwriting,” says the singer. The chanteuse and Davis also co-wrote the trippy Roy Ayers inspired “Spend Some Time.” There is also a steamy version of the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins hit “I Put a Spell on You.” Maysa confides, “’I Put A Spell on You’ is just HOT! It reminds me of New Orleans. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ and Nina Simone’s versions are fantastic so I was inspired to take something from both of their versions. I like to pretend I have that power over a man. Apparently I don’t. I’m still single.”

The beautiful, warm and humorous singer also does a stellar version of“Willow Weep For Me,” which she transforms into an uptempo bluesy romp. “It is a masterful union of melody and lyric,” says Maysa of the Ann Ronell standard. “It’s amazing how one singer to the next can make it dark and moody or lighthearted and hopeful. My approach comes from my own experience with heartache, and I took the ‘I’m slightly pissed off, but I’m okay route!’” The Edward Heyman and Victor Young composition “When I Fall in Love”is probably one of the most recorded jazz songs by jazz vocalists but yet Maysa finds a way to make it her own and bring new meaning to the song. She shares,“I’m still hoping for that feeling to become my reality.”

Maysa concludes “To my family old and new,this project, A Woman In Love is classic Maysa. Whether I write new songs or sing old ones, you will get my heart and soul and my very best, every time. I’m blessed to sing for you. We are now at a crossroad in the music industry. We are about to return to the truest form of the art of music.No more fake singing or playing. If you don’t practice and don’t have the chops or if you believe that your beauty or booty is gonna swing it for you, think again babyeeee!! And please find another job! Real Music is back!!” (Release Date 1/26/10)

Source: Shanachie Entertainement

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