The Queen was definitely in the house last night. Queen Latifah, with the debut of her new cd "Trav'lin Light", performed a solid set at the Strathmore Music Center last evening. Still riding the success of the crossover hit "The Dana Owens Album", the Queen entertained quite a crossection of Maryland folks. Of course, all the pretty black people were in the house - but quite surprisingly, looking around I saw young, old, and a much more mixed ethnicity than I'd expected. It just goes to show how timeless her selection of music has been - as well as how well she's performing. The Queen was all class and grace during this set - to be clear, there was a little hip-hop at the end...but there was never any hip-hop attitude.
Some of my favorites of the set - Georgia Rose, Trav'lin Light, I Know Where I've Been (from "Hairspray" was a real standout, Poetry Man (where most of us had a hard time just not singing out loud), California Dreamin - where her backup vocalists got to show out, Corcovado (by Jobim otherwise known as Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars") where the percussionists got to show and for the encore - a twosome - Lush Life - sung to perfection and the closer.....U.N.I.T.Y - which got everyone on their feet. It was nice that she closed on an up note - and even better on something that just made you wanna dance.
This is a woman to watch musically. She seems to searching for her niche with a specific genre - or looking to mix many genres in a way that will work for a broad audience. Definitely, the target is a more musically mature crowd than in the rap days. Her voice is gorgeous - the music and band tight. The only drawback for me was that it felt just a little "safe". I'm looking forward to hearing this girl reach her true comfort zone - and CUT LOOSE all the way live!
All in all - A great night, classy sounds in a great venue.