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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

CD Review: Diane Hubka - West Coast Strings

Diane Hubka (vocal/guitar); Anthony Wilson, Mimi Fox, Peter Sprague, Larry Koonse, Barry Zweig, David Eastlee, John Pisano, Ron Eschete, (guitars); Bobby Pierce B3); Jeff D’Angelo, John Leftwich (bass); Kendall Kay, Enzo Tedesco (drums).
(Review by Debra M)
This album from LA based jazz guitarist & singer Diane Hubka  is an assembly of top notch west coast guitarists in a variety of combinations, plus special guest soul/jazz veteran Bobby Pierce on Hammond B-3. The choice of material is eclectic, with some  subtly delivered  ballads including  ‘Never Let Me Go’ and  Mancini & Gimbels’ ‘Slow Hot Wind’.  
The CD kicks offs nicely with an assured vocal and swinging organ trio in West Coast Blues’,  followed by a refreshing  take  on Van Morrison’s oft overplayed ‘Moondance’ ,  a  duet with guitarist Mimi Fox, whose rhythmic chords and melodic  runs  provide ideal support for  Hubka’s up beat vocal. Fox is also outstanding in Billy Strayhorn’s   ‘A Flower  Is A Lovesome Thing’, where  Hubka’s poised delivery of the lyric  is reminiscent of Norma Winstone. 
Several of the tracks combine guitarists, including  new tunes ‘Warming to Spring’ and ‘Amanhacer’, the latter co-written by John Pisano, who can be heard enthusiastically vocalising his solos in this track and in ‘They Say It’s Spring’. The selective use of bass and drums as well as guitarists provides a range of musical textures and, ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’ is the track that grooves the most, featuring Pierce on Hammond B-3  and Anthony Wilson on guitar, who  combine with the rhythm section to provide a great backdrop for that most witty Gershwin lyric  (please add to the top lyrics list, Lance!).  Topped off with cracking solos, it’s clear these guys had a ball playing  this one. In fact, the  feel good West Coast vibe infuses the album, which is an unexpected pleasure.
Diane Hubka - West Coast Strings is currently available on SS-J Records.
Debra M.

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