Natalie Douglas

Four Women

New York, NY
Natalie Douglas is the perfect cabaret performer to do justice to four fabulous female vocalists—Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Nina Simone and Abbey Lincoln—all of whom knew, loved and admired each other. Douglas distilled the essence of them all in her 90-minute tribute show at Birdland, calling on her ability to use different voices to capture the style of each of these divas. Her self-deprecating humor and interesting storytelling made the transition from one vocalist to another flawlessly smooth.

Douglas opened with “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man,” allowing her to display an amazing range and enunciation worthy of Horne. “Stormy Weather” was followed by an amusing story about how Waters, who introduced the song, hated Horne. Holiday’s signature song  “God Bless the Child” was sung beautifully. Douglas’s ability to connect with the audience made her tearful renditions of “Strange Fruit” and “Mr. Bojangles” especially moving tributes to Holiday and Simone. “My Baby Just Cares for Me” was done delightfully, as Simone had performed it. The closing number was a very emotional performance of Lincoln’s “Throw It Away,” followed by the encore “The Best Is Yet to Come,” which I believe to be true of the career of Natalie Douglas.

Ron Forman
Cabaret Scenes
September 8, 2014