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BWW Review: ONE NIGHT WITH LUBA MASON At The Soapbox Gallery; Hot Jazz In A Cool Space Hitting All The Right Notes


Hot Jazz In A Cool Space

BWW Review: ONE NIGHT WITH LUBA MASON At The Soapbox Gallery; Hot Jazz In A Cool Space Hitting All The Right Notes Heigh-Ho My Lovely Rainbow Tribe! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in CABARET to bring you all the T...

HOWEVER, the T this week is not to be found in a cabaret but online for the Soapbox Gallery in One Night With Luba Mason (Featuring Sean Harkness & Samuel Torres). This 60-minute program that includes some old favorites, starting with real jazz renditions of "Skylark" & "Love For Sale", leads the audience down a glorious winding path, picking up songs from Mason's discography, stopping off to grab a number penned by her husband, Ruben Blades, and coming back round to her near 35-year Broadway career (that will resume once the theatres open in the fall and she can get back to the critically raved about, GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY). Each number slides so smoothly from the lady mixing in all the flavors of Mason's voice, a voice that creates as much ambiance as Soapbox Gallery's cultured backdrop of stagecraft and sculpture created by founders Tracey Yarad and Jimmy Greenfield.

Combining with the room, Mason, her expert musicians, and her song arrangements gives one a feeling of an updated beatnik arthouse chic. With no live audience on site, one can almost imagine the soft snapping of fingers replacing loud applause that, quite frankly, would have been intrusive to the magic in the virtual air after each selection. In fact, the predominant sculpture seen on the stage is one consisting of people's hands held up together, prayer-like, but mute in approbation of the beauty of the performance. Adding to the lady's stylings, offering her the best support one could imagine, and taking moments of their own to shine here and there, are the brilliant Sean Harkness, whose hands on the guitar are as much a joy to watch as they are to hear, so expert in their speedy changes and nuanced phrasing are they, and the wonderful Samuel Torres who, with his congas and chimes, keeps that beatnik chic feeling coming back throughout... and that is it. That is the show - just voice, guitar, and percussion - and it's all they need to reveal the magic of their program. When musicians have chemistry together it is more than something to listen to, it is a feeling that transcends the music in an indefinable and inescapable way. Then there is the lady herself: Mason's voice is spot on with nuance, astonishing range, and clarity. She reverently sings her husband's "Shamed Into Love" (penned with Elvis Costello) giving it a slow and smoky ballad feel - really beautiful and haunting - but then Luba gets the joint a-jumpin' with "In Walked Bud" as she and her partners take turns to scat, improv, and beat the beats in their turn.

Highlights of the setlist for this rainbow boy have to be the Beatles' "Ticket To Ride" where LM's depth of musical understanding takes the song down a jazz road revealing more meaning than the original, Chaplin's "Smile" that had the lady and Harkness dueting voice and strings, each playing off each other like the pros they are, and, from her Brazillian jazz album, Krazy Love, came the unofficial Brazillian national anthem, the rainy "Waters Of March" which, truth be told, would have made a fine finale to the program if Mason had chosen to stop there. If Bobby has to bring a little rain of his own with this review's rainbows, it's that the inclusion of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed" (to cap the set) was a tad anticlimactic after such an uplifting and treasure-filled evening. Oh, it's a fine song and Mason's arrangement and performance made it even finer, but it felt like something for the middle of the program rather than the end. But not to worry, as the evening was left standing just fine in the field of clover this trio planted.

And now the good news, Soapbox Gallery will continue to stream One Night With Luba Mason for another 2 days so you, my dear rainbow tribe, have not missed it. The link to stream the show is below. Click over and scroll down the page to see the full concert for yourself and DO click the PAY WHAT YOU CAN button and drop a few shekels in the hat because...

Bobby Gives Soapbox Gallery's One Night With Luba Mason a Nice 4 Out Of 5 Rainbows!

See The Show Streaming: HERE (Make sure to scroll down and find the show's title)

Luba Mason Has A Webby: HERE

Check Out Her Music On The Spotify'er: HERE

Follow Her Insta: HERE

Tweet Her Twitters: HERE

Look Up Her YouTubes: HERE

And Followe On Ye Olde FaceBooke: HERE

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