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New York vocalist Diane Hubka makes an impressive debut with this new release on the Dutch A-Records label. Hubka is an intelligent, self-assured singer with a light, gentle, (dare I say) sweet voice that strongly recalls the great Helen Merrill. She delivers a quiet, unhurried set of jazz for grown-ups heremostly ballads and standards with some blues and bossa nova mixed in.
Hubka is joined by some pretty heavy and sympathetic company including Harvie Swartz on bass, John Hart on guitar, Frank Kimbrough on piano, and Ron Vincent on drums. Alto sax legend Lee Konitz sits in on three cuts, among them a vocal version of "Israel," which he first recorded with Miles Davis back in 1949 on the original "Birth of the Cool" sessions.
Hubka is at her best on classic ballads like "Alone Together," "Lazy Afternoon," and "Detour Ahead." She also has fun with "Miss Harper Goes Bizarre," a tune co-written by Ray Passman and Meredith d'Ambrosio, which has the sort of sophistication and clever wordplay that Annie Ross used to have a ball with. They don't write 'em like that anymoreor at least not often.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.