Anne Howard Maxwell

Shadow of My Heart

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    6
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Maxwell is an extremely frisky writer with a highly melodic sense of guitar improvisation. Her stringwork is often engaging, but what really makes this album tick is the musicianship. Luis Conte is a marvel on percussion, adding the Brazilian touch to "Rio" and spice to "Down There," while Abe Laboriel smokes on bass, and Patrice Rushen sweetens on both Fender Rhodes and acoustic piano. And how can any release with saxman Eric Marienthal be bad? Maxwell only really challenges her listeners on half these tunes, and there are two just so-so vocals, but based on this debut, there seemed to be some promise for women musicians in the early days of smooth jazz.

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