Maysa

All My Life

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Five years passed between Maysa's self-titled debut album of 1995 and her next solo effort, All My Life. While Maysa ranged from decent to excellent, this consistently excellent CD is even stronger: more focused and more confident, yet more chance taking, more diverse, and totally unpredictable. All My Life gets off to a jazzy, Sade-ish start with "Got to Be Strong," which should please quiet storm enthusiasts. But Maysa, much to her credit, turns the album into a real R&B roller coaster by providing everything from club-friendly deep house on "Pressure" and "Hooked on Your Love" to hypnotic, British-sounding acid jazz on "Sunshine" and "Mirrors." And the singer really soars on an irresistible house interpretation of "The Bottle," Gil Scott-Heron's 1970s commentary on alcoholism in the inner city. So is the big-voiced Maysa really a dance diva at heart? A jazzy quiet storm/smooth jazz singer? A retro-soul belter? All My Life gives the impression that she's all of those things and more, and it's clearly among the finest, most exciting R&B releases of 2000.

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