Rhiannon | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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With her husky voice, her voluptuous interpretations, and her extraordinary skill at scat improvisation, Rhiannon might have stormed the jazz world years ago. (She's the Ella Fitzgerald of the Aquarian Age.) But Rhiannon doesn't restrict herself to the jazz world, so most people don't know quite what to make of her. Like Bobby McFerrin (with whom she sings in his innovative Voicestra) she can't help grabbing at other sources: folk music, pop, and a brand of inspirational balladry that allows her to fully ventilate a style that whoops, soars, and often seems to absolutely possess her. Think of her as a jazz earth mother--but one who can turn into a sly and seductive siren when the moment dictates. Some of her songs are a bit sappy for my taste, but Rhiannon herself almost never exceeds my tolerance for the dramatic, and her panoramic voice remains among the wonders of modern music. This concert marks her Chicago debut as a soloist (she fronted the women's jazz band Alive! some years back); her performance Will take the form of a theatrically structured story, told through the songs on her evocative new album Toward Home. Saturday, 7:30 PM, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 327-1662 or 477-7469.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jan E. Watson.

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