There's still a market for grown-up, sophisticated soul music. Maxwell has been on the scene making adult quiet-storm-ish music since the '90s, an heir to Sade. His sound pays homage to tradition, but it does so by deploying grooves and ultra-polished textures to futuristic effect.
He's not manic in terms of production, having released only four more records since his 1996 debut, "Urban Hang Suite." Maxwell has something in common with Erykah Badu and D'Angelo. Brittle and abstract minimalist beats propel lush layers of falsetto and touches of psychedelic atmosphere. There's a kinship with Prince as well, with vulnerability and spiritual devotion all tangled up in songs of longing.
Maxwell has talked about how his troubled boyhood shaped him, the son of a young mother from a fundamentalist religious family and a significantly older father who wasn't on the scene and who died when the singer was young. Maxwell is in the process of releasing a proposed trilogy of records. He came out with the second installment, "blackSUMMERS'night," last year. It's a record about seeing the strength within the constraints of commitment.
Maxwell performs at the Grand Theater at Foxwoods, 350 Trolley Line Blvd., Mashantucket, Friday, June 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $66, $96. foxwoods.com.