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Diane Hubka: Look No Further

Like her debut CD, Diane Hubka’s sophomore effort demonstrates how a promising singer can undermine her gift by striving for excessive hipness at the expense of other purposes.

Hubka has a clear, pleasing voice that she applies nimbly, if sometimes tentatively, to a program of insider jazz compositions by Herbie Hancock, Malachi Thompson, Claire Fisher, Bob Dorough and Bill Evans, mixed with a few standards. On many tracks, she’s so determined to prove she’s “one of the guys” that she dashes through an opening chorus, then gets out of the way to let her excellent sidemen solo at length. Because they aren’t trying to prove anything but their polished musicianship, pianist Frank Kimborough, guitarist John Hart and trombonist Scott Whitfield make far more expressive contributions than the leader, who delivers lyrics with scant emotion or insight. (Hard to blame her with texts as uninspired as “Morning,” “Dolphin Dance” and “In Walked John,” but, then again, she selected them.) When inspired, as on “In April” and Evans’ “For Nenette,” which is outfitted with a springlike Roger Schore lyric, Hubka can be a refreshing singer.

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