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Maysa – Love Is A Battlefield

May 20, 2017

Smooth jazz’s adored five-star nightingale has again flown in and landed with yet another precious gem of a collection of covers delivered in her own usual inimitable way. What can anyone say about this songbird that hasn’t already been said? The Baltimore, MD, songstress is lovely, mega-talented with an outrageous vocal range, and always equipped with stirring and infectious material totally packed with melody, balance, and body. No wonder she made such an impression on Bluey Maunick of Incognito so many years ago that he recruited her to share her impactful vocals as the frontperson for that iconic group. Now on her 14th solo effort (by my count), Love Is A Battlefield, she again dazzles with brightness and charm.

The title track of this project, an incredible cover of the ‘80s blockbuster rock hit by Pat Benatar, immediately caught and riveted me, sending waves through me as she not only nails the tune but does so in her own passionate and deliberate fashion, changing the tempo dramatically and simply driving it home with her incomparable individuality. Mind you, Benatar’s moving, driving original will always be near and dear to me, but Maysa’s version takes this pearl of a song to yet another place in the stratosphere of excellent productions. In a word, I was floored upon my very first listen.

Make no mistake, as most of you Maysa fans already suspect, there’s more of this top-shelf quality to be found throughout this album, and arguably perhaps Maysa’s finest work to date, in my humble opinion. Again accompanied by her production guru, Chris “Big Dog” Davis, this one was hit out of the park on the first pitch with bases loaded.

There are simply too many star tracks to single any one out as my fave, although the title track and “As Long As You Love Me” are strong candidates. There are covers here that are simply magical interpretations (check out her versions of “Inseparable” and “Footsteps In the Dark”). All of these tracks simply again left me in awe of the Maysa factor.

One distinct difference between this album and some of Maysa’s earlier work is that this CD is almost exclusively comprised of that slow, sensuous groove, whispering romance at every turn. In fact, the only “boogie down” dance number that takes one back to some of her previous work would be “Inside Out.” Everything else screams out for lovers to break out the candles and the wine and to shut down all means of outside communication. This beautiful stuff is serious. A+++ – Ronald Jackson