Maze: Frankie Beverly (vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, percussion, programming); Ron Smith (guitar); William Bryant, Philip Woo (keyboards); Robin Duhe (bass); Billy "Shoes" Johnson (drums); Roame Lowry (congas, background vocals); McKinley "Bug" Williams (background vocals).
Additional personnel: Wayne "Ziggy" Lindsay (keyboards); Larry Kimpel (bass); Mike White (drums); Sonny Emory (drums, cymbals); Anthony Beverly (cymbals); Yvette Sherman (background vocals).
Recorded at Amazement Studios, California.
Personnel: Bill Thompson (midi).
Recording information: Amazement Studios, CA.
Photographer: Christine Alicino.
When other 1970s R&B veterans were heavily incorporating elements of hip-hop and new jack swing in the hope of remaining competitive, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly flat out refused to change. Their roots were Philly soul and Marvin Gaye, and they weren't about to pretend otherwise. The stick-to-your-guns approach had made Silky Soul both a commercial and artistic triumph, and it's also a major asset on Back to Basics. Though not quite as strong as Silky Soul, Basics is a respectable, engaging CD that longtime Maze fans should savor. Beverly's producing had grown more high-tech over the years, but his approach to singing and writing hadn't changed much since the '70s. Smooth yet gritty, offerings like "The Morning After," "What Goes Up," and "Nobody Knows What You Feel Inside" are state-of-the-art Maze. And to his credit, Beverly knows how to use technology in a warm, soulful fashion. ~ Alex Henderson