Audrey Morris | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

AUDREY MORRIS

A singer doesn't have to nurse idiosyncrasies to have style--just listen to Audrey Morris. Morris doesn't deflate her material with affected nonchalance or smother it with histrionics; instead she delivers classic songs, some quite old and many nearly forgotten, with great musical intelligence and a literate, naturalistic approach to the lyrics. Morris has sung this way since her first recording in the 50s, but on the quiet and lovely Round About (newly released on Southport), she sounds equal parts ingenue and doyenne: there's a buoyant lilt to her upper register, warming the occasional held note with a controlled vibrato, and her lower register and darker sentiments carry the force of wisdom, not condescension. She refuses to strain her range or force emotions, a reserve that makes her "cool" but not cold, in Chris Connor's corner rather than June Christy's. Her voice is less husky than that of either of those two 50s icons, and in her occasional departure into words more spoken than sung, she resembles east-coast singer Meredith d'Ambrosio (whom she actually predates). Morris also accompanies herself at the piano with panache--if she had to, she could make the instrument sing in its own right. For this performance she leaves the cabaret for a sunset concert to close this season's "Landmark Jazz" series at Three Arts. Wednesday, 6:30 PM, Three Arts Club, 1300 N. Dearborn; 312-944-6250. NEIL TESSER

Add a comment