As arguably one of the most talented of
the new school rhythm & blues singers, Maxwell's debut album, Maxwell's Urban Hang
Suite was one of the pleasant surprises of last year.
Following it up with a live
album filled with many of the same songs may seem like a holding pattern, but at least
it's a quality one.
Stretching out tunes like "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)"
and "Gotta Get: Closer" often pulls out even more of the subtle nuances of his
While Maxwell's originals are all strong, the real centerpiece is a version of
"This Woman's Work," Kate Bush's delicate ballad of childbirth and sexual roles.
Maxwell's smooth falsetto voice caresses the complex emotions and delicate songcraft of
the tune. The ability to do a song like this justice - and the enlightenment to even try -
puts Maxwell head and shoulders above the R&B competition. (1/98)