A NATURAL WOMAN

This diva can still pack the house

The Queen of Soul is sometimes also the queen of “undisclosed health reasons,” which is why 72-year-old Aretha Franklin’s January Radio City dates are happening tonight. With recent shows topping out at a dozen or so extended numbers over 90-some minutes, the slimmed-down diva replaces stamina with nuance, blending full-range jazz improvisation with just enough full-throttle gospel flair to remind you who you’re dealing with. Perhaps echoing the Motown musical currently on Broadway, her big band includes a half-dozen backing singers and a fulsome horn section. Franklin’s next album is reportedly a concept project on which she covers female pop faves including Donna Summer’s “Last Dance,” Barbra Streisand’s “People,” and perhaps even Beyoncé, with Babyface and Andre 3000 producing.
Sat., June 14, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 15, 8 p.m., 2014

 
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