Sandra Hall | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Sandra Hall is a dusky-voiced R & B belter whose debut disc on Ichiban is an encouraging sign that sweet soul music remains a vital force in contemporary pop. Hall is no fresh-faced newcomer--she's worked shows with the likes of B.B. King, the late Joe Tex, Jackie Wilson, and Otis Redding--but until recently her reputation had been strongest in Europe, where the appetite for American deep soul remains strong. Although Hall's vocal range is not the most supple, she hits with authoritative power and effortlessly brings a sense of real-life testimonial to everything from murmurs to shouts. Even when singing about heartbreak she mixes the usual fatalistic vulnerability with a welcome womanly assertiveness, heightened by the gritty coarseness of her vocal timbre. Hall is an accomplished songsmith--"I Miss You So" on the new disc is remarkable--and as an interpreter she places an indelible personal stamp on even the most familiar material. If Hall can re-create in person the blend of intensity, sensuality, and emotional honesty she evokes on record, this show could be one of the more memborable debut appearances Chicago has seen in quite some time. Friday and Saturday, 9:30 PM, Rosa's, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Rugh Leitman.

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