All My Life
A vocalist of uncommon range and sensitivity, Incognito frontwoman Maysa offers a rich collection of resonant stories on All My Life (Rice Records/N-Coded Music NC-4209-2; 59:50). Whether crooning in a detached, vibrato-less vocal (the sinewy, Sade-recalling "Got to Be Strong") or offering a soulful vocal embrace to hopping blues (the pulsing "Sunshine"), Maysa draws the listener in with her warm, accessible style. She also gauges her delivery to best serve a particular arrangement, resulting in vocal lines with an instrumental character. This effect is shown clearly on a frenetic, Latin-toned read of Gil Scott-Heron's "The Bottle," with lower-range, soulful vocals moving fast and guitar-like, and on "Mirrors," with piping vocalese matching a buzzing, vibrating keyboard groove for an evocative, dizzying sensation. Another highlight on this outstanding collection, "Pressure," finds Maysa's languid vocals standing in stark contrast to manic pace and pulsing horns. Smart, reflective lyrics round out this intelligent, absorbing collection.