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The Incomparable Maysa (Performance Review)

FACT:  If ever there was a singer deserving of wider recognition, Maysa Leak known to her fans as Maysa, is that singer. Maysa has been a solo recording artist for about 26 years, and yet, I know a lot of people who have NEVER heard of her.  How is that possible?  Born and raised in Baltimore, MD, Maysa’s journey took her from singing upon graduating from college to singing with Stevie Wonder for a year to becoming the lead singer for the jazz fusion group “Incognito” in the 1990’s.Maysa recorded her first solo album in 1995.  Her latest CD is LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD, a hand picked collection of Maysa’s favorite songs, re-done with her own unique soulful twist, solidifying her as the greatest Soul-Jazz singer of her generation-the latest in a distinguished line of singers that stretches back through Anita Baker, Chaka Khan, Will Downing, Angela Bofill, Marlena Shaw and more recently, Ledisi and Chrisette Michele.

I saw Maysa last night at The Birchmere.  I believe it was my 7th time seeing her in 7 years.  Check out my review below.

Performance Review:  Maysa – At The Birchmere (July 7, 2018)

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In

I was so worn out from the Maysa show that when I got home I went straight to bed. A lot of folks are unfamiliar with Maysa. She has been the lead singer for the group “Incognito” for decades and a solo artist since 1995. Maysa has a streak of 30 “sold out” shows, including her show last night at the Birchmere. Here’s what I love about this woman–her shows consistently start on time. She does not use pre-recorded music tracks or vocals. Maysa stepped on stage at 7:30 pm and ended the show at 11:00 pm. There was no break, no intermission, just 3.5 hours of music that covered a variety of genres including jazz, smooth jazz, blues, R&B and Funk. She brought back the spirit of Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Dinah Washington, Nancy Wilson and Sarah Vaughn and more.

She took requests from the audience and sang “a capella” when her new band didn’t know the song. Her team went to every person in the club and personally handed you a bag of candy and chocolates that they assembled in her kitchen on Thursday.

Her “old school” medley included songs by Prince, Anita Ward, The Commodores, Gil Scott-Heron, Atlantic Starr, Rose Royce, Teena Marie, Natalie Cole, Tevin Campbell and Parliament-Funkadelic. And these are the songs that I can remember.

Here’s The Bottom Line: If you have a chance to see Maysa perform, get in the car NOW. Get on your bicycle or put your “house shoes” on and start walking to the show. Her show is everything that a live performance should be. She will be back in DC at the Birchmere in October. The food at the Birchmere is great. I had the best blackened catfish, with collard greens and macaroni and cheese in decades. I thought my grandmother was back in that kitchen. For some of you, you have no more excuses. You can’t say, “Nobody told me about Maysa and the Birchmere.”

Enjoy Maysa singing her signature song “Deep Water.”

To learn more about Maysa, click here to visit her official Home page.
Click here to visit her official Facebook page.
Want to see more Old School, Vintage and Classic performances?  How about exclusive interviews with some of your favorite artists?  Click here to visit our Music page.


Gary Johnson is the Founder and Publisher of Black Men In, an online news and magazine, Black Boating and and several other online sites.  Gary is also the author of the book 25 Things That Really Matter In Life,”:  A Quick and Comprehensive Guide To Making Your Life Better—Today!

Black Men In
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