Cabaret Review By Joel Benjamin
Tall, slender and self-assured, Luba Mason sang a program that blended several musical genres, hence: Mixtura, the title of her show at the Metropolitan Room on Sept. 11th. She radiated a warmth and enthusiasm for twisting familiar songs into new shapes, starting with Van Morrison’s “Moondance” which had a slow, sensuous mood, complete with a long vibraphone solo from her music director, Felipe Fournier. She seemed most proud of her “All My Jazz” (Kander/Ebb) sung with witty hesitations and a slightly coy attitude, ending with a piercing high note, a technique she used effectively on several numbers, including a tough, beseeching “Love For Sale” (Porter).
From her own catalog came “A Summer Night,” a reverie full of images of delightful settings, “ and her zippy, bossa-nova-inflected paean to the joys of home, “This House.”
Ms. Mason was particularly generous with her musicians, encouraging long, virtuoso solos in almost every song. Sara Caswell’s violin interpolations enhanced Lou Reed’s wittily observed ups-and-downs-about-love “Pale Blue Eyes” and “I Can See Clearly Now” (Johnny Nash) which Ms. Mason sang with a childlike wonder.
She showed a sassy, winking side in the novelty number “Don’t Shoot the Hooey to Me Louie” (Richard & Robert Sherman), swinging and scatting through this pastiche of World War Two songs.
She ended with Tom Waits’ “Take Me Home”—her husband, Ruben Blades’, favorite song from her album—in which a young lady gleefully breaks her boyfriend’s heart with gentle taunting.
Her other extraordinary band members were Rafael Rosa on guitar, Dan Martinez on bass and Joel Mateo on drums.
Luba Mason returns to the Metropolitan Room on October 2nd and November 6th.
*Photos: Maryann Lopinto
34 West 22nd St., between 5th & 6th Aves.
New York, NY
Reservations: 212-206-0440 or www.metropolitanroom.com
More Information: www.lubamason.com