The rather smarmy "Bach, Stevie Wonder, and Janette Monae" opens this live performance. While disconcerting, the tide shifts dramatically with The Beatles
' John Lennon
classic "Ticket to Ride." It is reimagined in a sultry and just short of brilliant manner. Luba Mason's vocal phrasing brings an entire new essence to this tune. Bassist James Genus
plays a line throughout which is a slow groove with a lot of feeling. Vibraphonist Joe Locke
solos in spectacular fashion, while percussionist Samuel Torres
joins the party and adds some spice. A pleasant surprise which is perhaps the best tune on the record.
Mason again sparkles with phrasing and delight in the buoyant "Waters of March." Genus and Locke capture a mood that Torres rides smoothly. Genus kept the tempo solid for the duration, wisely not taking it to fifth gear; it didn't need to go there as it was crisply paced and humming along nicely.
Sung in both Slovak and English, "Cersne"(Cherries) is sexy and seductive. Perhaps, better said that Mason is sexy and seductive. If anyone else was playing on this piece it went unnoticed! Actually it's a duet with Locke.
Time to swing, and that is what they did. Genus dug in to the Thelonious Monk
classic "In Walked Bud" with verve and was accompanied by Locke's flavorful vibe riffs. Mason turned it on, and the joint was jumping.
Mason is both romantic and vibrant in "Inolvidable"(Unforgettable).The Latin-laced piece showcases her broad and delightful skillset.
The heavy metal tune "Toxicity" is boldly tackled by the ensemble. Genus and Locke fervently jam their way through with some powerful and melodic lines. Mason shows remarkable range, deciphering the less-than-jazz-like and tension-filled lyrics.
"Say It" is sung with such heart and poetic charm that one might want Mason to say it over and over again and over and over again....Genus and Locke again are tightly locked in and play this uplifting tune with equal heart. This is a truly stunning trio performance.
Mason delivers Paul Simon
's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" as if it were her very own tune. She owned it from start to finish. She had a lot of fun with it. Again, her phrasing just has to be mentioned. Genus, Locke, and Torres build consistently and reach a powerful level which has the crowd up stomping and clapping along at the conclusion. Generally, not what you want at a jazz concert, but somehow it worked here, perhaps because it was so spontaneous and unexpected.
A bass and vibraphone rhythm section is rarely employed. Based on this outing from Genus and Locke one might wonder why. They fitted like a glove, played off each other real well, and their collective sound was spot on. As for Mason, is there any song or type of song she can't sing and turn into exactly what she wants it to be? A uniquely gifted and talented woman for certain.
Bach, Stevie Wonder, and Janette Monae; Haled's Song About Love; Ticket To Ride; Waters of March; Ceresne; In Walked Bud; Inolvidable; Toxicity; Say It;
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.