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Editors’ Notes

Maxwell sings about romance and its attendant spoils and complications with a buttery falsetto as opposed to the more explicit, Auto-Tune-coated R&B heard on the radio today. After whetting appetites with each release (1996’s Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, 1997’s Embrya, and 2001’s Now), BLACKsummers’night marks the first set of a trilogy of new recordings, his first in eight years. Guitar, bass, drums, organ, horns, and handclaps give the album an organic starting point for Maxwell to explore. “Playing Possum,” “Stop the World,” and “Bad Habits” are vintage Maxwell: patient meditations on love filled with his trademark passion and vulnerability. “Cold” funks with playful horns and bass while Maxwell gets creative with the metaphors (“Global Warming ain’t got nothing on this chick/She’s not to play with”) and “Phoenix” is an instrumental that strikes a Nuyorican pose. The state of R&B has changed dramatically since Maxwell last released an album; BLACKsummers’night reminds us that Maxwell’s grounded soul is back and was sorely missed.


Born: 23 May 1973 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Along with fellow founders D'Angelo and Erykah Badu, Maxwell was enormously important in defining and shaping the neo-soul movement that rose to prominence over the latter half of the '90s. Drawing his greatest inspiration from the concept of the R&B auteur (looking to artists like Prince, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, etc.), Maxwell recorded some of the most ambitious R&B of his time, becoming wildly popular and often earning critical raves in the process. What was more, his recurring theme of romantic...
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BLACKsummers'night, Maxwell
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