Some would rather sit in vigil for D'Angelo to resurface than actively champion emerging black alternative artists--and the 1990s neo-soul heyday is being retrospectively dismissed in both critical and consumer quarters. However, that halcyon sonic moment yielded a minuscule host of great artists--like Maxwell, whose forthcoming (rare) tour is already being celebrated across the web. Undermined from the git-go by record bizzers, and thwarted in being himself to a degree by his own community, Maxwell has slowly returned this past season to audience hosannas and scribe plaudits based on a handful of live turns. Despite time out of mind, his vocal gift's gloriously intact--and, rather miraculously, he's being given the second act America likes to withhold, especially from Afro-futurist mavericks (here's looking at you, dear Rachid). Maxwell's long-awaited triple-disc, Black Summer's Night, remains a Holy Grail for those of us who still hope black pop can transcend the thicket of ringtones and mercenary moves. With the "African-American Amy Winehouse," Jazmine Sullivan.
Thu., Oct. 9, 8 p.m., 2008