Maxwell, 'BLACKsummers’night' (Columbia)

8
BLACKsummers'night
Critical Mass
Label: Columbia

by Mikael Wood

This neo-soul trailblazer hasn't released a new album since 2001's Now, but after returning to the stage last fall, Maxwell is coming back with a flourish: Dude says this is the first installment in a planned trilogy.Grittier and less New Age-y than his previous work, BLACKsummers'night suggests that Maxwell spent his sabbatical doing more than yoga. "I want you to prove it to me in the nude," he sings with unexpected authority in opener "Bad Habits." The first single's called "Pretty Wings," but the whole thing flies.

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