Maze are an American soul / quiet storm band, also known alternately as Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly and Frankie Beverly & Maze, was established in San Francisco, California in the early 1970s.
Frankie Beverly started the group as Raw Soul in 1970. They recorded a couple of singles on the small Gregar label, but without any major hits. With a few personnel changes, a relocation from Philadelphia to the San Francisco Bay Area in California in 1971, and an introduction to Marvin Gaye, the group became an immediate success. Gaye took the group on the road with him as one of his opening acts, and in 1976, he suggested that they changed their name from Raw Soul to Maze.
Maze signed a recording contract with Capitol Records in 1976, and released their debut album, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, in 1977. From that album, the hit singles included "Happy Feelin's", "While I'm Alone", and "Lady of Magic", ultimately giving them their first gold record and earning Maze a devoted following. They also had success with the albums Golden Time of Day (1978), Inspiration (1979) and Joy and Pain (1980).
Their next recording was Live in New Orleans, three quarters of which was recorded at the Saenger Theatre, on November 14-15, 1980. Three of those songs got into the US R&B chart, including "Running Away", "Before I Let Go", and "We Need Love To Live". By that time, the band had both a reputation in America and also enjoyed a following in the United Kingdom with promotional support from the British DJ Robbie Vincent. In May 1985, Maze sold out eight nights at the Hammersmith Odeon.
The group released their next album, Can't Stop the Love in March 1985, which featured the group's first number one R&B hit "Back In Stride." The Top 5 follow-up, "Too Many Games" was also featured on this album. The latter single also became the band's biggest hit in the UK, where it peaked at number 36 on the charts.
In 1989, they signed with Warner Bros. and released the hit album Silky Soul, plus Back to Basics in 1993, and released the live DVD recording at London's Hammersmith Odeon in 1994. The two albums also attained gold disc status. They had another number one R&B success with "Can't Get Over You".
In October 2004, "Twilight" appeared in the video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, playing on funk radio station, Bounce FM .
In 2009, a tribute to the hits of Maze was released. Called Silky Soul Music: An All Star Tribute to Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly, it included modern stars performing Maze's biggest hits with Maze acting as the backing band.
On September 2, 2011, their percussionist and background singer, McKinley "Bug" Williams, died of an apparent heart attack at a hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Maze continues to tour around the United States as well as Europe to this day. Every year they are the closing act for the Essence Music Festival.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license