Luba Mason: Mixtura

Mixtura is more than the title of Luba Mason’s third album as a leader. It also describes her personal and professional ethos, so much so that she has trademarked the term. “Surround yourself with people who are great, and will push you, and you can challenge yourself and learn,” she has said. The “mixtura” philosophy extends to her quest to weave together pop, jazz, classical and world influences while uniting with fellow adventurers spanning various categories, nationalities and generations.

Mason, among the few vocalists equally comfortable in musical theatre and jazz, does her credo proud across the album’s dozen tracks. The eclectic playlist ventures from a slinky, inky “Love for Sale” and a gutsy take on Mozart’s “Voi Che Sapete,” at once supernal and earthy, to a densely diverse “All That Jazz” and the fervid patter of “Beautiful,” from off-Broadway’s recent Pretty Filthy, a sly take on the porn industry in which Mason costarred.

As for guests, Mixtura is liberally sprinkled. Dori Caymmi and Kenny Loggins back a shimmering treatment of James Taylor’s “On the Fourth of July.” Al Jarreau joins in on a tropical, twilit “Moondance.” Trumpeter Randy Brecker and Vadim Neselovskyi, doubling as pianist and Mason’s co-writer, partake in the bleak, heart-wrenching drama that is “Last Snowfall.” A dazzling reinterpretation of Lou Reed’s “Calm Before the Storm,” suggestive of pre-Franco Spain, features the fiery, all-female Mariachi Flor de Toloache. Most profound, though, is the opening “Freedom,” with Brecker and bassist Jimmy Haslip, a rallying cry to Mason’s life-affirming doctrine.

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