Recorded live during a four-day stint at the intimate Lion d’Or during the 2019 Festival International de Jazz, Montreal is a succinct six tracks. I don’t know if it’s because my attention span has deteriorated in this information-overloaded age we live in, but I quite enjoyed this shorter album size.
I also enjoyed the energy that a live performance lends. So although the majority of the tracks are Cole classics that most fans will have heard before, these renditions have slight differences from the studio versions as well as a unique presence and spontaneity that’s difficult to achieve in studio. The sound recording is so good (thanks to Ken Friesen) that you might not even know it’s live until the appreciative audience makes its presence felt.
Cole is in top form, doing what she does best: delivering great songs with style, wit and heart, starting with the atmospheric Whatever Lola Wants. A singer’s dream, Cole’s longtime bandmates – Aaron Davis, piano, David Piltch, bass, Davide DiRenzo, drums and John Johnson, woodwinds – deliver their usual imaginative, tasteful support. Each band member has a chance to shine – Piltch on the stripped down Little Boy Blue, a playful duet with just bass and voice. Davis solos beautifully on Girl Talk and Talk To Me Baby and Johnson’s evocative clarinet playing strikes just the right note on You’ve Got a Secret.