Lavette not able to keep magic going in Jazz Appreciation Month
By Bob Karlovits
Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 10:39 p.m.
Rising to the occasion can sometimes be a difficult task.
At a Jazz Appreciation Month concert Tuesday at the Cabaret Theater, Downtown, Bettye Lavette offered a powerful night of soulful, rthythm-and-blues singing, but it was nowhere near the level of jazz creativity offered by the three prior guests in the month-long celebratioin.
Even though her offering included a soulful version of “Nights in White Satin” and a look at Ringo Starr's “Ain't Come Easy” that was perhaps how the song shouid be played, her performance did not have the edgy zest of Nicholas Payton's or the strength of Kenny Garrett's.
Ultimately, there was a sameness to her work that took away the freshness. She sang with great power and heart, but songs like “The Word They Call Love” and “Don't That Make Me Crazy” were so much in they same vein they made her show — while entertaining — a bit repetitious.
There were some great breaks in the routine. Her version of George Jones's “Choices,” for instance, had a gospel preachiness that gave it a standout role. “My Man,” a song she did in her early days in Detroit, had the same kind of heart that lifted it above other numbers.
Her stage presence and performng style also made the show a great deal of fun. At one point, she talked about her current “eight- or nine-year Who the Hell is She Tour.”
She also joked at one poimnt abouit how “Bob Dylan wrote too many words.”
Physically, she moved about the stage in the aggressive prance of Mick Jagger. She has a toughness in her urban persona that allows — in fact, encourages — such a routine.
Lavette presents a good, hard-working show. Her style gave Jazz Apprecialtion Month another look at its “Diggin' Deep” theme. But whether it was entirely fitting in that category is still up in the air.
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7852.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh Symphony struggles to increase revenues, reduce costs
- 2014-15 PNC Pops season drops Thursdays, adds more film to schedule
- Pittsburgh Opera tackles complexities of ‘Paul’s Case’