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SATURDAY

In the years since her up-and-down marriage to the Notorious B.I.G. ended in a spray of bullets, Faith Evans has figured out that the world does not need another full-blown chanteuse. Sure, the sad-voiced 20-something appears in a luxurious fur on the cover of her Faithfully disc, but the outfit isn’t diva gear. It’s temporary—a bit of PR texture. The look in her eyes gives up the real Evans: There’s no attitude, no self-importance, just a little intensity. She’s grown up. Indeed, Evans’ decisions since Biggie’s 1997 death bear the mark of a woman who understands the rules of self-preservation: She married again, this time to her manager, Todd Russaw, and kept the lines of communication open with pop mentor Sean “Puffy” Combs during his legal tribulations. Faithfully, as a result, is a lesson in R&B strategy. It sounds generic at times, but Evans smartly never tries to oversell her talent or her own personal drama. In that way, the disc puts the Mary J. Blige comparisons to rest. Her duet with Carl Thomas, “Can’t Believe,” sums it up best. In a place where your average R&B showoff would come out swinging, Evans plays it cool. And as a result, her bluesy timbre never really loses its balance, even as the song’s sparse, echo-heavy groove almost swallows her voice. Faith Evans performs with Usher, Nas, and Mr. Cheeks at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at Nissan Pavilion, 7800 Cellar Door Drive, Bristow. $23-$52. (202) 432-7328. (Joe Warminsky)