Recording information: CDS Studios, Wallingford, CT; Night Flight Studios, Fort Washington, MD; Organboy Studios, Hyattsville, MD; The Alcove Recording Studios, North Hollywood, CA; Trod Nossel, Wallingford, CT; Wrightway Studios, Baltiomore, MD.
Back 2 Love, Maysa's eighth release for the Shanachie label, marks 20 years for the singer as a solo artist. She was as active as ever when the album was released, coming off her first Grammy nomination and gigs with Incognito and her own band. Once more, she works closely with fellow songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Chris "Big Dog" Davis, and J.R. Hutson (son of Chicago soul giant Leroy Hutson) also assists on a handful of cuts. Stokley Williams takes over as composer and producer on "Keep It Movin'," a highlight on which the Mint Condition leader also plays everything and duets with Maysa. The song has the same traits -- the brightness, that slight bounce and lilt -- as Mint Condition's best. Another guest appearance comes from labelmate Phil Perry, who joins in for "Last Chance for Love," a sparkling slow jam. Back 2 Love works through a multitude of styles, from stomping house with pure disco-soul lineage (the title track and "Miracle") to highly melodic retro-modern pop ("The Radio Played Our Song"), but the quality of the songs is consistent. Filled with typically refined adult contemporary R&B and some pleasant surprises, this is among Maysa's most pleasing solo albums. ~ Andy Kellman