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Based on the public’s absolutely crazed response to the return of Maxwell, you’d think folks had been forced to screw to a soundtrack of air conditioner hum and street noise during the crooner’s eight year break from the music business. Things haven’t been quite that bleak for fans of slow jams, but it makes sense that soul/R&B fans are going nuts for Maxwell’s fourth studio album, BLACKsummers’night—the singers of love songs who emerged in Maxwell’s absence haven’t exactly been making baby-making music. T-Pain’s “Long Lap Dance” and Trey Songz’s “Panty Droppa” don’t create the same vibe as, say, “Get to Know Ya” or “Lifetime.” The Brooklyn singer’s comeback work is not on par with Urban Hang Suite, or even Now, but as far as mood music goes, most would probably argue that it sure beats the hell out of the 11 o’clock news, police sirens, or anything that the newest class of soul singers has come up with in the last several years.

Maxwell performs with Common and Chrisette Michele at 7:30 P.M. at the Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW. $68–$178. (202) 628-3200.