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Jazz Review : Ighner's Special Rapport

November 24, 1986|LEONARD FEATHER

Sondra Ighner has her audience--at least the male half--in the palm of her hand before she sings a note.

It's something in the way she looks: tall, high-cheekboned, the fashion-model type. And something in the way she moves: During the introduction to her first song, in the Room Upstairs at Le Cafe, her gentle undulations established a special rapport.

Her voice--somewhat high- pitched, soulful, penetrating--generally lived up to the promise implied by these preliminary moments. Along with a repertoire that takes in a few standards such as "It's All Right With Me" and "Lover Man," she incorporated a couple of songs by her celebrated brother Benard.

Clearly the genes are good in this family. In the middle of the set she lured her brother to the piano to sing "Everything Must Change."

Though she has worked extensively as a backup singer and as vocalist with Sergio Mendes and others, Ighner had some nervous moments. After forgetting the words in "Night and Day" she seemed ill at ease for the rest of the song, but soon got back on the track, displaying good stage presence and exceptional diction. Whether her English is matched for clarity by her Portuguese (she plays her set with "Love Dance" in that language) will have to be determined by better authorities.

Don Wyatt, a capable jazz pianist, led the accompanying trio in an overlong warm-up set. Alec Milstein on Fender bass and Lance Lee on drums rounded out the accompaniment.

Ighner may find her best outlets in rooms that exceed Le Cafe's limited capacity of 70 and supported by a more ambitious instrumental setting.

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