Eight years after Now, the Brooklyn-born sex god is back, minus the afro, to serenade any female within earshot. But before Maxwell became a statuesque bundle of erotic energy, it’s worth noting that there was more to him than a chiselled jawline and taut buttocks.

Back in 1996, he released Urban Hang Suite, a coolly crafted album that had to compete with D’Angelo’s ground-breaking Brown Sugar. BLACKsummers’night is, however, a different proposition. While Urban Hang Suite blended jazz with funk, BLACKsummers’night is firmly rooted in a type of tuneful soul that’s easy on the ears.

Pretty Wings, Bad Habits and Help Somebody are fine songs, aided by a 10-piece band that comes into its own on the criminally short Phoenix Rise. That instrumental ends an album that’s been lauded in most quarters, perhaps because, unlike Urban Hang Suite, it has few rivals.

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Maxwell
Track listing
1. Bad Habits
2. Cold
3. Pretty Wings
4. Help Somebody
5. Stop the World
6. Love You
7. Fistful of Tears
8. Playing Possum
9. Phoenix Rise