Vocalist Maysa has the kind of soulful and husky vocals that allow her to travel seamlessly between genres. She’s amassed an underground-soul rep with the British funk-jazz band Incognito and built a following among smooth-jazz folk by guest-starring on projects by Rick Braun and Jonathan Butler, among others. She’s also recorded original R&B CDs and a couple of exquisite soul-oriented cover projects.
But Maysa now hits her stride with A Woman in Love, which reflects her background and love of jazz (she named her son after the genre). This is a CD you knew was coming. She doesn’t totally discard her R&B leanings, but the best tracks here are the classics where her jazz training is reflected in tone and phrasing. “Willow Weep for Me,” “‘Round Midnight,” “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?,” “When I Fall in Love” and “I Put a Spell on You” precisely combine jazz reverence and Maysa’s R&B leanings.
Working with producer and writer Chris “Big Dog” Davis, Maysa also crafts her own jazz magic on the original “Am I Wrong (for Lovin’ You?),” a samba tune showcasing the singer’s scatting. Elsewhere, Will Downing joins her for the scorching ballad “Love Theory,” and Maysa pays tribute to the late Michael Jackson with “The Lady in My Life.”