Alexander's at the Portland Hilton - Friday, December 9th, 2006
Toni Lincoln with the Ron Steen Trio
Toni Lincoln - vocals
Ron Steen - drums
Phil Baker - bass
Greg Goebel - piano
Alexander's is a swanky spot and the jazz offerings have been exceptional.
Unfortunately, the current run for jazz will be over right before Christmas, as the restaurant and lounge, high above Portland will see its last day as a jazz venue on December 16th of this year.
Gig started at 8:00 pm, and I arrived about 8:30. Parking was $6 across the street.
The quality and level of play was instantly recognized as very high. Toni sang many jazz standards, beginning with Speak Low, then Be Anything.
Toni has great stage presence, and an air of elegance. She has a dancer's timing and moves musically as she sings. This is more obvious as she interprets Girl From Ipanema. Next is All of Me. She expresses a saucy attitude here and is very welcoming and engaged with the appreciative audience.
The band mates are in good form. Ron is a rock solid player, who obviously loves playing with Toni. He is a consummate accompanist on drums and brilliantly brings out the best of the many guest vocalists he features in this setting. Phil is always "in the pocket," even on the most rigorous solos, always accurate in intonation and timing.
Greg Goebel is a strong young player whose adventurousness brings some spice to this group of seasoned professionals. His solo on All of Me was exceptionally beautiful. Greg is an old friend from my days in Eugene and he is playing a lot in Portland these days. He is a very gifted player.
Toni is beautiful and has a great command of her instrument. She expresses poise and wisdom in her choice of notes. Her artistic integrity and deep musicality projects a quiet intensity. He's Funny That Way, Satin Doll, How Grand (new to me), and Our Day Will Come, all showed up in her repertoire.
Two of Toni's sisters were present for this gig, Cynthia (from Oakland) and Alea. They told me about their Mom singing them the last song at bedtime. Now that's someone I'd like to meet!
This is wonderful music!
Toni Lincoln booking: 503-704-0229, firstname.lastname@example.org