7/16: Maxwell at Allen Theatre

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Stepping out of the limelight for what he calls a “healthy eight years,” Maxwell recently emerged with BLACKSummers’ Night, the first part of a musical trilogy he’s been working on since taking his extended break. It’s a strong return to form. “Help Somebody” features a ’70s-inspired horn section that recalls classic soul without sounding dated. And even though love songs like “Love You” and “Cold” fail to ignite (mostly due to weak arrangements), the music is worth checking out — especially the acoustic ballad “Playing Possum” and the techno-jazz instrumental “Phoenix Rising.” Now on tour, Maxwell is playing lots of new music, but he throws in some of his older songs too. Irish songstress Laura Izibor opens at 8 p.m. at the Allen Theatre (1407 Euclid Ave., 216.241.6000). Tickets: $42.50-$89.50. — Ernest Barteldes

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