Slim and Slimmer

Patti Austin recently dropped a hundred pounds from her famously plump frame and has gone from a size 26 to an almost petite size 6. Can you say gastric bypass surgery? It's a big change for the singer/songwriter known mostly for her buttery smooth voice on songs like her 1982 hit with James Ingram, "Baby Come to Me." Word on the street has it that the drastic weight loss was inspired by the death of her close friend Luther Vandross in the summer of 2005. And now Austin is debuting her new self along with a new collection of tunes. She's touring in support of her soon-to-be-released album Avant Gershwin, which puts a jazzy twist on George Gershwin standards. It's a sexy and mature album that deserves to be heard, and we're guessing audiences will be treated to a sneak preview when she comes to South Florida this week.

Patti Austin performs Saturday, February 10, at C.B. Smith Park, 900 N. Flamingo Rd., Pembroke Pines. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $22 at the door. Call 954-437-2650.

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Jonathan Cunningham