Alicia Keys

Wednesday, March 23; the Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Boulevard

If you wonder why former Clive Davis wunderkind Whitney Houston is such a mess these days, look no further than current Clive Davis wunderkind Alicia Keys, who not only has excellent pipes but also possesses jaw-dropping songwriting skills that she's been showcasing since age fourteen. Without the conceit a diva like Whitney or Mariah might have about picking material that could take attention away from their voices, Keys can impress on two fronts: her assimilation of old-school R&B and jazz into her own writing and her ability to give new life to the styles. Her 2001 debut, Songs in A Minor, was a major triumph that she handily expanded upon with last year's Diary of Alicia Keys, which broadened the hip-hop portion of the program without pissing off the Grammy nomination committee. And while that title portends a self-importance that has felled similar young artists (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, for instance), Keys is a talent who isn't going to go Whitney on us anytime soon.

Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $37.50-$87.50; call 314-534-1678 for more information.

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