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Art-Alive.com

 
 
THE GLORIOUS, GOLDEN VOICE OF GLORIA LYNNE

In this world

Where many, many wing a song

But hardly any sing a song,

I’m glad there is Gloria.

     It is Friday, October 6, and Fort Greene’s Jazz 966, at 966 Fulton Street, is featuring the legendary Gloria Lynne in performance.  The capacity crowd at the club concert crosses the threshold of timelessness and becomes a permanent part of the perfect present.

     The concert commences with an abbreviated trio version of “Billie’s Bounce” before “Glorious” Gloria Lynne graces the stage.  She opens with an apropos song: “Hello.” She sings as if she’s speaking within the song, singing within the spoken word.  Her voice is golden.  It lives in the sin and glows in the dark.  It reaches into the psyche and becomes a part of it.

     Her inflections are as resonant as they are riveting.  She is singing “Hello” to everyone.  “Hello” to each one.  “Hello!”  Her sound is sincere; the audience responds: “Hello!”  There is love.  Everyone is family.  It is glorious.  We are one.

     She continues with “Sunday, Monday, and Always.”  Her voice encompasses eternity; she makes it visible.  In a dim light, we can see forever.

     “Soul Serenade” is next.  A song composed by a king.  People called him Curtis.  A song written for her.  Her soul serenades.  She repeats the word “soul.”  Spirituality dances on her tongue; her eyes sing the blues.  “Soul,” she repeats again, bends the word, divides it into nine component parts.  For now, we can call them syllables.  The music throbs, pulsates, serenades.

     She sings between summer sidewalks and city skies.  We hear her spirit in every song, in every stanza, in every syllable.  In her song, we hear her soul; in her soul, we hear her song.  Her every song a serenade; Her soul serenade a blues.  A lonely soul, longing to be free.

     Gloria Lynne follows with “I’m Glad There Is You,” an extraordinary song.  The audience claims it.  They are more than glad; they are grateful.

     For her, it is an identity song.  It defines her, describes her.  The song finds a key, unlocks a door.  The door opens by itself.  Inside we hear the sound of sunlight.  Next, the trio takes the lead and launches Lynne into “Out of This World.”  The song soars high above the rhythm, shifting its celestial course in conjunction with the trio command center and its three stage transmitter: (orbit one) rhythm of the first part: hard bop on a Harlem break, Fort Greene-flavored funk between sidewalk streetsteps and stop-time motion; rhythm of the second part: common time on a clear path, straight ahead acceleration; rhythm of the third part: Afro-Cuban cosmic curve; (orbit two) repeat.

     Higher above the rhythm, the song rises: above the sidewalks  and debris; up above the rim; above the pollution and poverty; above the lies and games; above the crimes; above the madness, it rises, rises where there’s music in the air; the song rises up and into clarity, up and out of this world.

     The following song is an unrecorded original by music director and pianist Roy Merriweather.  “This One’s On Me.”  The song is slow and somber.  Lynne gives the lyrics a graphic reading of bittersweet grandeur.

     Merriweather’s plush piano provides an incredible interluide.  We hear the future birth of a ballad classic in its prenatal state.  The sonogram radiates.

     “All Say Long” follows.  It is a medium tempo standard bare-to-the-bone twelve bar blues: a two bar “tonic,” a two bar repeated “tonic” a two bar “sub-dominant,” another two bar “tonic,” a one bar “dominant,” a one bar “sub-dominant,” and a final two bar “tonic.”

     Lynne exquisitely expresses a 24-hour love interest timelock destined for daily repetition.  In “I Wish You Love,” there is resolve in her voice.  Resignation.  The lingering remnant of unrequited love.  Her tembre contains the transcendence of tears; her vibrato stores the afterbirth of wisdom.  Pain forfeits its power and fades into finality.  She closes the set with her upbeat theme, “That’s What Friends Are For.” 

     The smitten audience stay in their seats for the second set.  Moreover, the set itself becomes a request-a-thon with Lynne singing hit after hit and driving an animated audience into devastating dimensions of delight.  Included are definitive renditions of “Without A Song,” The Folks Who Live On The Hill,” “June Night,” “Tis Autumn,” “Watermelon Man,” “Stella By Starlight,” “Impossible,” “Let’s Fall In Love,” and “My Funny Valentine.”  Her voice is forever a festival of song.

     Throughout both sets, the trio of Roy Merriweather (piano), Leon Dorsey (bass), and Vince Ector (drums) administer accompaniment of astounding artistry.  The audience is overwhelmed and stand in ovation.  There is jubilation.  There is love.  Everyone is family.  It is glorious.  She is glorious.  We are one.

Author: GEORGE EDWARD TAIT

Publication Name: NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS

Publication Date: 11-25-95

 
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