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Jazz Review
Artist: Roberta Flack
Performance date: June 11, 2002
Roberta Flack at the Bluenote


Concert Review by: Beatrice S. Richardson


June11-16th, 2002 - The prestigious Blue Note jazz club welcomes R&B legend Roberta Flack for a rare appearance from June 11-16th 2002. Singer/pianist Roberta Flack knows how to raise the roof and tear down the walls with her infectious and deeply emotional brand of R&B.

Over the course of her three-decade career, Flack has earned a huge and intensely loyal following all over the world, with her exquisite piano playing and her passionate yet playful vocals. From the softest whisper to soulful dynamic voice and vibrant personality she shines through every song she tackles.

Flack lead the band through a wide range of emotions from the gospel-tinged "Inch By Inch" to "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" to the declarative "Killing Me Softly." Flack turned up the heat with Marcus Miller's "Oasis" and a tribute to John Lennon's "In My Life".

Flack's passion for singing and impeccable timing makes her music timeless. Roberta Flack was born in Ashville, N.C. in 1939 and, inspired by her father, a church organist began playing piano at a young age. She went on to win a music scholarship to Howard University, after which she briefly taught music before landing a record deal with Atlantic Records in the late 1960s.

Her 1969 debuted, First Take, and 1970 follow-up, Chapter two did not sell well until 1972, when the single "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face" from First Take appeared on the soundtrack of Play Misty For Me and subsequently hit No.1. That same year Flack began collaborating closely with vocalist Donny Hathaway, whom she knew from college; together the pair produced No.1 hits such as "Killing Me Softly With His Song"( 1973) and "Feel Like Makin' Love" (1974).

Tragically, after the 1978 release of "Blue Lights In The Basement", Hathaway committed suicide, ending their partnership. Flack then began working with Peabo Bryson, with whom she recorded 1983s popular "Born To Love".

Throughout the 1980s and 90s Flack continued recording and touring, scoring the top hit with 1991s" Set The Night To Music", a duet with Maxi Priest. Roberta Flacks's most recent album released in January 2002, "Roberta Flack in Concert," a video / DVD that documents a live performance the legendary singer gave in Washington, DC.


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