E1 Entertainment KEC-CD-9196
Real Divas started out eight years ago as a showcase every Tuesday night at a Toronto club hosted by musician, band leader, festival organizer, broadcaster, photographer (let me see, have I left anything out?) and all round good guy, Bill King. Designed to give a stage to local singers, both established and new to the scene, the Real Divas evenings saw now-notable singers such as Emilie-Claire Barlow and Sophie Milman take their initial steps into jazz performance. Those nights are history now, but the project and goal behind it live on under King’s guidance. The current incarnation comprises four young (some still teenage) vocalists — Kinga Victoria, Sophie Berkal-Sarbitt, Lauren Margison and Josephine Biundo (and guest Jessica Lalonde) — who come from a range of musical disciplines (including opera) and locales (Winnipeg, Poland), but who share an appreciation for good songwriting.
Singing individually and as an ensemble on “Café Society” the group covers Bacharach, Ellington, Bernstein and pop hits such as First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, bringing new interpretations and layers of musical styles. Hence a Latin version of Tea for Two, swinging Come Fly With Me and sultry Lazy Afternoon all cozy up together here. The vocal arrangements are not overly complex, but the singers achieve a good blend when needed, then let their lovely voices and individuality shine on the solo numbers.