Michigan native Barbara Morrison has long been a stalwart of the L.A. jazz and blues scene, as a club performer with a variety of ensembles, educator (most notably at UCLA), and activist on several fronts. She's also a terrific singer with a two-and-a-half octave range who blithely covers a huge swath of territory running from down-home blues to electrifying soul and R&B to sophisticated jazz. She's been regularly compared to the likes of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Bessie Smith—rarefied air for anyone capable of handling even part of that spectrum. Her versatility has also been evident over the years in her participation in tributes to the likes of Count Basie, Harold Arlen, and, just recently in L.A., Big Mama Thornton. Whether scatting like Ella or peeling paint off the bricks à la Etta, Morrison is in a class by herself. She returns for a rare visit to the Dakota, where she recorded a superb live album about four years ago. $28 at 7 p.m.; $20 at 9:30 p.m.
Mondays, Tuesdays. Starts: Jan. 5. Continues through Jan. 6, 2009
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