Toronto singer Laura Hubert would be familiar to many readers as the energetic vocalist of the popular JUNO Award-winning Canadian folk/rock band the Leslie Spit Treeo (1988-2000). Hubert continues her musical journey singing jazz in this live recording from the Poetry Jazz Café in Toronto’s Kensington Market, supported by a superb jazz quartet comprised of pianist Peter Hill, guitarist Eric St-Laurent, bassist Steve Wallace and Davide DiRenzo on drums.
Hubert performs with an astounding, memorable sound. Her clear articulations of the storytelling lyrics are still present as she develops her expanding, still intense singing style in 13 contrasting cover tracks. The opening Mercer/Carmichael tune Lazy Bones is a great introduction to Hubert’s personal and at times idiosyncratic sound style, complete with swells, warble and growling vocal effects, and never over-the-top loud singing. A vocals/piano start leads to a full band rendition, with upbeat instrumental solos and background cymbal crashes nicely contrasting the vocal effects. The slower Ellington/Russell song I Didn’t Know About You has Hubert singing in a tenderly lush way, with dramatic held notes against standard jazz band backdrop sounds. The upbeat quasi cha-cha-cha tune Comes Love (Stept/Tobias/Brown) is another intense, unique rendition driven by a tight rhythmic groove.
Great musical interplay between Hubert and her band, extended colourful and exciting instrumental solos and clear production values, including the appreciative audience applause, complete this excellent live release from this musically evolving artist.