June 26, 1993 |
When veteran performers such as Aretha Franklin appear in concert, at least part of their mission is to convince longtime fans that they still have that special magic, whatever power brought them success the first time around. Franklin dispensed with that formality in the first five minutes of her sold-out performance last night at Valley Forge Music Fair. Opening with "River Deep, Mountain High," she sang each phrase as though trying to sell the song for the first time. She was determined to make its message stick: As her ad libs built from a brooding blue whimper into a formidable wail, Franklin meted out bitterness in microtones.
December 31, 2014 |
No one needed to remind the audience at the Kimmel Center on Monday that Aretha Franklin, 72, is the reigning Queen of Soul - not the T-shirt vendors or the announcer by the side of the stage. From the first notes of Jackie Wilson's upbeat "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" to the night's playful finale, Franklin's voice showed subtlety, grace, and strength - hallmarks of her continued majesty. Aficionados who have witnessed erratic performances and late starts were pleased that Franklin hit the stage minutes after 8 p.m., ready to sing.
April 3, 1998 |
Truthfully, the thought of hip-hop maestro Sean "Puffy" Combs producing a track for soul legend Aretha Franklin was laughable at best, pitiful at worst. But amazingly enough, on her new album, "A Rose Is Still a Rose," Combs' song is one of the many highlights. Franklin has said that her already powerful voice has more clarity than ever before since she gave up smoking. That's certainly apparent in her joyous vocal runs and scatted melodies. It sounds as though Franklin enjoyed collaborating with her youthful producers and that comes through in her performances.
October 2, 2015 |
Aretha Franklin released a statement Wednesday saying she had a lovely interaction with Pope Francis on Saturday and did not realize he was sitting behind her when she performed at the Festival of Families later that evening. Franklin took her fair share of heat on social media for failing to greet the pontiff after she took the stage to perform "Amazing Grace. " All of the other performers - including emcee Mark Wahlberg and classical singer Andrea Bocelli - greeted the pope before or after singing, and he presented each with a small gift.
July 4, 1992 |
The Queen of Soul has never had a classier backup band. Last night at the Mann Music Center, Aretha Franklin and the Philadelphia Orchestra took the chill out of a frigid July night. The concert, preceded by a heavy downpour, was the kickoff of the three-day Fourth of July Freedom Festival. Franklin was in fiery form. Dressed in an orange-red cloak with enough billowy ruffles to outfit a ballroom with curtains, Franklin swooped her way through a half-hour of her greatest hits with plenty of spine-tingling bravura.
March 18, 2014 |
American Idol and its ilk have taught us to regard a singer's voice the way progressive-rock fans once cooed over instrumental solos. But what made Aretha Franklin, who performed at Revel Ovation Hall in Atlantic City on Saturday night, an epoch-defining figure was not simply talent or even technique, but judgment - not the notes she could hit but when she chose to hit them. Before she was the Queen of Soul - an honorific that also serves as the title of Rhino Records' nicely remastered recent collection - Franklin spent the better part of the 1960s letting producers pair her with overorchestrated jazz and pop standards, with results equivalent to a Van Gogh painted on black velvet.
September 7, 2012 |
Aretha Franklin 's biopic is on. Repeat: It's a go. Franklin, 70, has approved the story treatment for what her PR rep calls "an epic tale with probably the most starring and supporting roles since Roots . " And she has started casting. Already cast: Dorothy Norwood , Karen Clark , and La Shun Pace as Franklin's friend (and sometimes backing vocalist), Philly's Clara Ward , and her group, the Clara Ward Singers. So who'll play the Queen of Soul? Franklin says she has a wish list for the supporting cast: Audra McDonald , Nia Long , Kerry Washington , and Blair Underwood . And who'll play Her Soulfulness?
December 14, 2012
ARETHA Franklin and her famous pipes have always demanded R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Friday night, visitors to Chestnut Hill's Woodmere Art Museum have the chance to experience the Queen of Soul's classics through the powerful vocals of Lisa Chavous. The museum's Friday Night Jazz program is dedicating an entire evening to "Ree-Ree," featuring such songs as "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Dr. Feelgood" and "Rock Steady. " Backing Chavous is the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble, which has been preforming at the Friday Woodmere sessions for more than two years under band bassist Warren Oree.
September 14, 2012
NEW YORK - The Juilliard School plans a star-filled private musical tribute to Marvin Hamlisch that will include Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin and Liza Minnelli. The composer, who became the youngest person accepted by Juilliard at age 7, died Aug. 6 in Los Angeles. The memorial will be held Tuesday night at the school. Hamlisch composed or arranged hundreds of scores for musicals and movies, including "A Chorus Line" on Broadway and the films "The Sting," "Sophie's Choice" and "The Way We Were.