March 14th, 2009
Toni Lincoln is something special. She is captivating; beautiful, with
a voice that can give you chills or break your heart. Toni started
singing professionally only a few years ago, after a career and raising
her children. It’s in her soul, though, growing up surrounded by
On the day of the performance Toni has been asked to
fill in, so she and pianist, Vince Frates, have never performed
together. Vince turns out to be a perfect accompanist for her; never
overpowering and always sensitive to her phrasing and delicate endings.
Toni opens with one of my favorites, Autumn Leaves.
She has the sweetest vibrato, making me love it even more. She and
Vince confer and make decisions before each tune and decide to give Day by Day a Latin rhythm, which Vince executes beautifully. September in the Rain is sweet, and then they switch to a ballad, That’s All. Vince’s flourishes are lovely throughout Come Rain or Come Shine. Speak Low, a song of love and longing, has a Latin feel. But Not For Me receives buoyant support from Vince. Summertime
is a ballad, naturally, but they decide to slow it down even more and
Toni’s rendition is moving, while Vince’s improvisation is
creative without losing the melody. All of Me is a sweet bossa and Satin Doll is fun. Sarah Vaughn’s Be Anything
is tender, “Be the sweetheart of my dreams, be evil, who cares?
My darling, be anything; but darling be mine.” To end their set
they do the upbeat, Pennies From Heaven.
Vince begins the second set, solo. His interpretation of Georgia has some people in the audience closing their eyes and smiling. Toni begins with an understated, gorgeous, The Shadow of your Smile. Next is George Shearing’s Lullaby of Birdland. Then the bitter lament of You Don’t Know What Love Is. Toni’s version of Thou Swell is delightful. Morning of the Carnival is perfectly hopeful and melancholy. The sunny, Honeysuckle Rose, is followed by I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm. Tenderly is a ballad, and Days of Wine and Roses, swings. The Nearness of You is tender, while You’re Mean to Me is deceptively cheerful. The final songs are an up tempo Just Friends, with Night & Day as a bossa, and the romantic Embraceable You.
Toni’s voice is unique and each song is
exquisitely crafted. Toni tells me, “Once I start singing I want
to sing all night. I have so many songs to share.” We are
fortunate she decided to share her gift with us. To hear a sample of
her singing and to see where she’s performing go to http://www.myspace.com/tonilincoln
Encore 310 has been remodeled since the old LV’s
days. Tom Grant has been booking the club and performs there regularly.
There’s a $5 cover and a $10 food and drink minimum and
Rafati’s serves fine food. 310 SW Lincoln St. www.encore310.com