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November 2007

Diane Hubka
Goes to the Movies
18th & Vine

Packing together a disparate assortment of movie tunes isn’t exactly a novel idea, but Diane Hubka, whose decision to “go Hollywood” on disc was prompted by her recent move from East Coast to West, does manage to inject some originality into the mix. Working with some of the left coast’s top players, including regular Tierney Sutton collaborator Christian Jacob on piano, Carl Saunders on trumpet and flugelhorn, Joe LaBarbera on drums, Chris Colangelo on bass and Larry Koonse on guitar, Hubka demonstrates her own western leanings, echoing “cool school” songbirds Chris Connor, June Christy and Bev Kenney as she explores Tinseltown territory both familiar and obscure.

Wisely calling on Jacob to double as arranger on all 13 tracks, Hubka wraps her clear-as-mountain-stream sound around “The Look of Love,” “Close Enough for Love,” “Wild is the Wind” and “All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm” with consistently winning results. “He’s a Tramp” succeeds as a gentle samba, as does “I’m Old Fashioned” as a peppy bossa. Johnny Mercer’s “The Long Goodbye,” from 1973, proves the master still had it at age 63. Conversely, “The Bad and the Beautiful,” David Raksin’s sweeping title theme for the 1952 Lana Turner-Kirk Douglas melodrama, with clunky lyrics later added by Dory Previn, and “Lovers in New York,” Henry Mancini’s breezy, stroll-through-Manhattan piece from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, subsequently augmented with lame, cliché-ridden words by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, both prove that even the best lyricists didn’t always shine in the California sun.

Originally published in November 2007
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