In 1996, a then 23-year old Brooklyn born phenomenon took the music world by storm with his debut, Urban Hang Suite. (He signed to Columbia Records at the tender age of 21, already having composed more than 300 songs before signing on to the major label.) The critically acclaimed CD received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album and went on to achieve double platinum status. Maxwell's MTV: Unplugged (1997) achieved gold status with his live rendition of "This Woman's Work." He was heralded as the future of soul music and proved his staying power when he followed up with 1998's platinum seller Embrya. In 1999 Maxwell's single, "Fortunate" (off of the LIFE soundtrack) became Billboard magazine's number one hit of the year. Maxwell's third album, Now (2001) debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart; selling 300,000 copies its maiden week and eventually also reaching double platinum status. The album was appropriately described by Entertainment Weekly as "A velvetined gauntlet thrown at the feet of today's bling-bling-obsessed R&B pack."
In an age of immediacy the idea of waiting sounds hopelessly outdated. But that said, there is something to be said about anticipation. Such is the case with Maxwell's new album. After an extended hiatus the sexy ambassador of soul has returned with a brand new look and a fresh yet deliciously vintage sound. The same artist who brought us classic songs like "Sumthin' Sumthin'," "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)" and "Lifetime" (not to mention the unforgettably ethereal cover of Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work") is back with a challenging, mature, sensual, courageous and emotionally open album entitled, BLACKsummers'night (Columbia). BLACKsummers'night, the first installment of a trilogy, is a collection well worth the wait. His fourth studio album and first in eight years is the sound of an artist taking the commitment to his craft and the conversation with his audience that much further.