Early Morning Melody Floating

Today’s Morning Groove is inspired by two posts I saw while I was away from Chevvy at the Chevvy’s Studio blog. Her weekly “Sunday Coming Down” posts usually give us something good to wind down the end of the weekend to, and in the post I referenced above, she featured a song by Maysa Leak, who just so happens to be one of my favorite singers. The second one gave Maysa the spotlight to herself, as Chevvy featured a few of her favorite songs by her.

I only found out who she was by chance. One random day back in 1994, I wandered into the local music shop looking for something to drop my money on. I couldn’t find anything until my eyes wandered upon a CD cover with six people on the front—a bassist and a guitar player, a man and a woman with no instruments, along with a dude next to a keyboard and a drummer. The name on the front of the CD was Incognito, and the name of that album was called  Positivity. Somehow, having never heard a single note of any of the songs, I was intrigued.

The album that started my love affair with Incognito & Maysa Leak.

I knew nothing of Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick, the leader of the band, nor anything of the wondrous female lead vocalist who would haunt my waking hours after many plays of the album, one Maysa Leak. Nor did I know that Maysa was from Baltimore and had studied music at Morgan State University in the city. No, at that time I knew nothing; but fate somehow played a part and persuaded me to purchase that album that day. From the opening notes, I was not disappointed; I still play that album or songs from it every now and then and it never gets old.

Checking Maysa’s bio, not only does she hail from Baltimore, but she also started her career singing with Stevie Wonder in Wonderlove, his backup singers. After doing that for a year and performing on his soundtrack to the movie Jungle Fever, she auditioned to be the lead singer of Incognito. She moved to London after being chosen, and was heavily featured on the albums Tribes, Vibes & Scribes and Positivity, before making her solo debut in 1995 with the self-titled album Maysa. Maysa still sings with Incognito from time to time, but also has a flourishing solo career going as well.

Today’s Morning Groove is the opening track from the album that introduced me to both singer and band. After hearing “Step Into My Life,” there was no going back. The album is full of winners in my book; if you like acid jazz, R&B, or just plain good music, you need to listen to this. And while this song steps into my life one more time, I’ll be stepping into the groove.

As a bonus Morning Groove, here is the song Maysa sang for Maunick over the phone as an unofficial audition to be lead singer of Incognito: a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing”. There was never an official audition: she was hired right away. It appears on the Tribes, Vibes & Scribes album.

Many thanks to Chevvy for reminding me of the goodness of Maysa Leak; I’ll need to find a way to feature more of her outstanding singing—maybe some songs from her solo projects next time. And as always, thanks for listening and reading.

23 Replies to “Early Morning Melody Floating”

  1. Oh this is good – the biggest Maysa fan am I. It’s so cool that she comes from your neighbourhood. I was just wowed by her when I saw her live in my neigbourhood. There’s also a nice love story in that band . I know Deep Water tells some of the story – Drummers don’t just Drum:-) Actually the band is also great, I like the other vocalists too but Maysa was always the star for me. You’ve inspired me to post another of my favourites from the Tribes Album. Thanks for the shout out Tracy. Best. Chevvy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, and you are very welcome for the shout out! I’ve heard bits and pieces about that love story, but never the whole thing.

      The first time I heard her voice, I just knew I’d be listening to her for a long time. And I knew I would be following that band too once I played that CD.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Twin…by George you’ve done it again!

    This time you and Chevvy are now in cahoots! Maysa is one of my favorites. And there are NO WORDS to describe Incognito–NONE.

    Maya’s version of Angela Bofill’s “I try”–NOPE, I just cannot! Love it!

    I used to play Positivity to death! I had the CD when it first came out. “Still a Friend of Mine”–WHAT???

    Recently, I have had “Autumn Song” on repeat. On this one did you peep that whole throwback to Ernie Isley ala “Summer Breeze” I thought I was going to stroke out!

    This is really good stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You did not just go and bring up “Autumn Song.” Goodness. Adventures In Black Sunshine is one of my favorite Incognito albums! And that song is definitely one of the highlights. Positivity is where it started for me. Tribes Vibes and Scribes and Surreal are very good too, but I like them all.

      Thanks so much Twin for the good words!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I did bring up “Autumn Song!” LOL!!

        You cannot go wrong with ANYTHING from Incognito/Maysa! That’s why you hit a freaking nerve this morning!

        Go ‘head on Maryland for bringing us that Queen!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh a newbie in my book..I Love this sound the horns all of it..that voice…I may have to pick this up (online) if able and when you know the money comes around lol.. there is always youtube (i hope).. Thank you for introducing me..This is what I love the best finding new musik to my ears..well not so new but in my book it is..
    Hope that your Monday is a fun day or a good day my friend
    Huggggs
    Suzz

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Suzette! So glad you liked it! If you can’t get it yet, the whole album is on YouTube:

      Hopefully that works. If not, just look for Incognito Positivity if you want to hear it there.

      Incognito has been around a long time, and Maysa doesn’t sing on all of their albums, but when she does appear, it’s always worth a listen, at least to me.

      Again, so glad you liked it. I had a pretty good Monday overall…just gotta finish up. Take care, and thanks for the Huggs 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I did very much so again thank you..I will for sure look on
        youtube..what a way to start the day..THAT VOICE!!
        Glad to hear you had a good Monday ..rough start here took all morning to just get right ..now the day is almost gone so I feel I have to rush…grrr.
        Well finish up and I will see you later I hope I can finish up the same lol..
        aww anytime for the huggggs they are free..I am a hugging person ..
        K take care again ..off to try to catch up..at least it’s not to much to get done today…
        : )

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! That is exactly how I felt after I played that album the first time. I was hooked. And when that happens, I start looking for other albums by a group that I might have missed. Thankfully, I have not been disappointed with Incognito, or Maysa since that fateful day.

      Liked by 1 person

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