"Some performers perform primarily for themselves and at the same time people enjoy them," says Caron Tate, "but I perform for the audience . . . I try to sing songs that I like because it's easier for me to really enjoy them along with people and get them across." Tate even sings some songs she doesn't care for, "trying to discover . . . why did it sell millions of records and I don't like it." Tate will offer a program of jazz standards, show tunes, '50s and '60s oldies, blues, contemporary pop, maybe even a country hit or two at the Newsroom Cafe tomorrow. Pianist John Kordalewski will accompany.

Area theatergoers have seen Tate in many productions in the past 15 years since the St. Louis native settled here, including "Out of the Reach of Children" and "The Amsterdam Theater Presents Directly From Death Row the Scottsboro Boys." Her acting talents are now on display in Studio Theatre's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."

"I don't think I have the best voice in the world," says Tate, whose 3 1/2-octave range can handle operatic arias. "I wish I did so that I could be like some performers and be rude to people and they'd still pay to come and see me just because my instrument is so fabulous." RULES TO PLAY BY

Bob Florence is the king of orchestraleader who won't take a gig unless his entire band, Limited Edition, is invited. "The style of playing is too personal," he insists, to accommodate substitutes. For his two weeks at Cates Restaurant & Cellar Pub, pianist Florence is making an exception, but it is not a compromise; he will be featuring his keyboard talents, not his prize-winning orchestrations. He opens Tuesday in duo with bassist Steve Novosel.

An 11-time Grammy nominee, Florence says his creative ideas "usually happen in the shower," not elaborating as to how the titles of his pieces come about. Examples are "Alice in Welfareland," "Afternoon of a Prawn" and "Cole Porter Stomp," a blending of Porter's "Just One of Those Things" and Jelly Roll Morton's "King Porter Stomp."