A pretty quick follow-up to his first CD When I Need to Smile, Face of Love finds Maslov incorporating guests Toots Thielemans on harmonica and Shirley Horn on vocals, and interpreting jazz and pop music from '60s icons, adding an occasional innocuous synth wash here and there. Eddie Gomez is back on bass for eight cuts, and Willie Jones, George Schuller, and Steve Williams split up drum chores. Asserting himself as a pyrotechnist, Maslov's fine original playing comes to the forefront; he injects hard chords and neat ideas into the up samba of Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder's "Chan's Song." The Miles Davis-Victor Feldman evergreen "Seven Steps to Heaven" is wittily arranged, shifting back and forth from upbeat waltz to regular 4/4 pace. A most interesting version of the Jimmy Rowles number "The Peacocks" sports heavy, dense textures from Gomez with Maslov's left piano hand and synth, and slight funk by Jones. The trio dives head first with no intro into "Them There Eyes," jump starts "The Groove Merchant" including a solo piano break, and adopts a more contemporary samba mode for Maslov's "Through Russian Eyes." Horn sings two ballads written by Mack Street honcho Gretchen Carhartt, the tick-tock rhythm on the unrequited love torch song of a title track, and the regret-filled "Come Back to Me Love." Thielemans' features are the "Days of Wine & Roses"-flavored ballad "More Love" and the classic, tender waltz "Bluesette." This CD is an improvement and a continuation along the lines of the previous recording.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos