[youtube id=”D7rm9t5S4uE”]Maxwell emerged as a suave bohemian making contemporary soul influenced by past masters with his 1996 debut album Urban Hang Suite. His sound was touched heavily by work from Marvin Gaye and Prince and resisted the almost inescapable presence of hip-hop. Songwriter Leon Ware, and guitarist Wah Wah Watson and producer Stuart Matthewman added their vintage to the newly minted grooves. Maxwell and Itaal Shur co-wrote “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” which was the second single from the album. He used less of his acclaimed falsetto and the funky bass centered the arrangement as the lyrics about romantic love and spiritual expansion flowed. The song would become one of Maxwell’s signature pieces and it put Urban Hang Suite into more ears via radio by the end of 1996. Critics declared the album to be an important moment in the development of neo-soul and Maxwell became a platinum-selling sex symbol. In 2018, Maxwell’s single “Shame” was released in anticipation of his NIGHT album the last one from his trilogy that started with BLACKsummers’night (2009) and blackSUMMERS’night (2016).