Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
What a difference a few years have made for Phoebe Snow. When she first hit the airwaves, she seemed destined for a niche in the jazz and blues corner from which few vocialists escape. Her initial conerts found her tentative, insecure - in fact, dull.
No more. When Snow finally reached the stage at the Warner Theatre Sunday night, she took immediate charge with a funky, screaming "It's love That Makes a Woman" that would made Patti LaBelle proud. There are few singers with as much promise as Snow, and she has managed to overcome the sheer exhibitionism that once made her voice a curiosity as much as a tool.
At times reaching a gospel fervor, that voice has a marvelous range, timbre and texture, as well as a unique clarity. It is a big voice , and Snow puts herself behind every lyric, sometimes compressing her energy until a line literally squeaks or squeals.
Snow's repertoire is less eclectic these days, though she still does favorites like "No Regrets" (which exhibits her still-unrealized jazz potential) and "Poetry Man."
A few too many of the new songs seemed cut from the same funk and finesse mold, but on a fine, new original ballad for her daughter, "Keep a Watch on the Shoreline," Snow proved that there are few styles she cannot master. With the right material, in fact, she could be consistently overwhelming.