She worked hard and smiled harder, baring her tonsils at the slightest provocation. She made painful grimaces with her eyes closed and did a lot of scatting that registered little emotional impact. Worst of all, she had to contend with a buzz of conversation that kept arising like bad rumors from the restaurant-club's back tables.
Making matters worse, her brother Curtis amplified his acoustic bass so loud that it overwhelmed pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs and often rendered drummer Rodney Green a subsidiary partner. Lundy's material stuck close to standards and to her own tunes. But the big bass waged war with many selections: It transformed ``What Is This Thing Called Love'' into a funky apparition and often gave a light-jazz cast to the proceedings.
The concert wasn't without virtues. Most people listened. And Lundy found her way on one of her old favorites, ``The Lamp Is Low,'' which played to the middle of her register. But all her finger-pointing and contrived poses grew wearisome. Lundy was playing the part of a latter-day Lady Day, but something seemed to be missing - like belief in what she was doing.