One of the only albums ever cut by Maxi Anderson – a hell of a soul singer who's lent her talents to a number of sessions over the years, but who sounds especially great here in the lead! Anderson's got a vibe that's almost like Minnie Riperton at the time – a warmly glowing approach to soul that's sophisticated, yet sweet and personal too – set up nicely here with some great Cali arrangements from Gene Page, who slides in an undercurrent of funky soul at the bottom – especially on some of the album's great Skip Scarborough cuts. Titles include "Dancin To Keep From Cryin", "Glory Glory", "Delta Road", "Lover To Lover", "Let Him In", "By Your Side", "Walk Softly", "The Perfect Day", and "Music On My Mind".
Sam Rivers RIP. INSPIRATION was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual Or Group. Prior to Inspiration, Sam Rivers hadn't recorded for a major label in nearly 20 years, and he hadn't cut a studio session in two decades. That doesn't mean he was inactive; he was teaching, playing, and giving concerts but never recording. Aware that many of Rivers' big-band compositions – not only his recent material, but some earlier works as well – had never been given the proper treatment, saxophonist Steve Coleman helped arrange a recording contract with BMG, with the end result being the astonishing Inspiration album.
While too many pop and R&B divas rely on Mariah Carey-like vocal histrionics, Sunshine Anderson wins over fans with her understated maturity. The first single, "Heard It All Before," breathes new life into a typical R&B diva scenario of a jilted woman confronting her cheating lover. The guitar-based mid-tempo track "Lunch and Dinner" features smooth guitar and straightforward, earnest lyrics. Your Woman features some solid production by Mike City and Mark Spark, and rather than trying to overpower the music with her voice, Anderson has enough confidence to just go along for the ride.
Sunshine Anderson is the latest in a long line of confident female R&B singers to whom self-realization is a given, and who have no problem demanding their due from their often inadequate men. Her second album, imaginatively produced with a wide range of hip, grainy-sounding beats, deals with the tough realities of relationships, in songs as varied as the grittily realistic "Problems," "Switch It Up," superficially about romance gone stale but more concerned with turning a life around, and the galumphing "Trust," whose mutant beat buffers a tale of deceit. Anderson never leaves any doubt who's in control, though she can still turn on the erotic softness in silk-sheet jams like "Force of Nature."