Laura Hubert gets a venue worthy of her talent tonight
I remain puzzled as to why Jazz singer Laura Hubert, who’s been steadily entertaining audiences across the GTA with her repertoire of Golden Age Pop/Blue-Jazz classics for 15 years now, is not better known for her unique take on the material.
While many remember her Leslie Spit TreeO years in the late 80s through most of the 90s, during which time she and her two bandmates (Pat Langner and Jack Nicholson) won a Juno as Best New Band, many still seem puzzled by the reference when I mention that I now like her Jazz singing better.
Yet she’s actually recorded three albums of Jazz covers, starting with 1999’s wonderful My Girlish Ways, through the followup Half Bridled and the gritty Live At The Rex. On all of the material she brings a soul and passion that sounds so authentic it’s hard to realize you’re not listening to a recording done decades ago when the tunes where fresh, songs from the 30s, 40s and 50s about love gone wrong and quirky love and no love at all as well as a bunch of quirky songs that’ll tickle your funnybone as well as get your toes tapping.
So why is she still toiling in the shadows? It could have something to do with her personality. It’s not that she’s a shy, retiring type –far from it—but she has a kind of earthy, visceral nature that keeps her loyal to little dives where she’s been performing all along, places like Grossman’s, The Rex and Mezzrow’s. It’s the same quality that’s reflected in her no foolin’, sometimes guttural approach to her repertoire and that makes it easy to believe she may have actually lived some of this material,
Although I have no doubt that Hubert’s talent would be welcome, for example, in hotel lounge bars on any continent, she’s just not the type (nor is her longtime accompanist, piano wizard Peter Hill) to be a kind of prop or accessory to a sculpted experience such as that most hotel bars offer.
But tonight a hotel bar is exactly where you’ll find her, albeit one with a big difference. The Monarchs Pub in the Eaton Chelsea Hotel (33 Gerrard St. W.) is a live music room that several nights a week offers some of the best that the local talent mix has to offer, courtesy of booker Mike Smith, a longtime music aficionado with eclectic tastes. (The bar has indie bands or acoustic groups Tuesdays, Jazz Wednesdays, Blues on Thursdays and Rock/Pop Fridays.)
Laura’s 8 p.m. show at Monarchs will have the delight of affording her a great stage setup with usually excellent sound, superb site lines and even stage lighting to allow her to weave her sonic spell that transports audiences from today’s phone-screen-staring world back to a time when a mobile communication device was a telephone booth.
Show starts at 8 and runs till midnight. There’s no cover but you’ll definitely make up for that via the rather pricey refreshments. Service is lackadaisical but pleasant and you’ll want to arrive early to snag one of the coveted front seats so that you can feel like you’re in a 40s black and white movie. Just turn off your damn phone and get ready to time travel!
-Gary 17 www.torontomoon.ca
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5-8> Michelle Rumball with Kevin Quain & Kevin Barrett @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Blues/Jazz
6> Jon & Jen @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO
6:30> Amanda Tosoff Group @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
6:30> Raconteurs Storytelling Night @ Tranzac Club (Main Hall), 292 Brunswick Ave. TO
7-10> Jaymz Bee hosts tribute to Crad Kolodney @ The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave., TO West ~original Pop Rock
7> Miranda Mulholland debut solo cd release for Whipping Boy & Roaring Girls label launch with many guests @ Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., TO West
*7-11> open jam with Wayne Buttery Band @ The Beacon, 146 45th St., Wasaga Beach
*7:30-10:30> Peter Griffin & BTBs @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave., TO East ~Jazz
7:30> Comhaltas Irish Slow Session @ Tranzac Club (Tiki Room), 292 Brunswick Ave. TO ~folk dancing
7:30> Tax Brass @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave. TO
*8-12> Girls Night Out Jazz singers jam with Lisa Particelli, Peter Hill et al @ Chalkers, 247 Marlee Ave., TO North-West
**8> open stage with 9 p.m. feature by Jim Amar @ Fat Albert’s, 25 Cecil St. (Steelworkers Hall), TO ~Roots; pwyc
*8-1> open jam with Wednesday’s Child feat. Johnny Bootz Hutt @ Lola, 40 Kensington Ave., TO
8> Laura Hubert Band @ Monarchs Pub (Eaton Chelsea Hotel), 33 Gerrard St. W., TO ~Pop Jazz with punch
8> Lazersusan @ The Only Café, 972 Danforth Ave., TO East ~songwriter
*8-11> Fraser-Daley @ Inter Steer, 357 Roncesvalles Ave. TO West ~Roots/Blues
8-1> Jeanine Mackie @ Timothy’s Pub, 344 Brown’s Line, Etobicoke South ~R&B/Pop
8-1> Marta Pacek & Kim Koren @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St., Oakville ~indie Roots; $10
*8-12> all-ages jam with The Brand New Low @ Sixth Line Pub, 1500 Sixth Line, Oakville
*8-11> open mic @ Frank’s Pasta, 426 King St. E., Cobourg
8:30> Shannon Lyon; Lucas Stagg @ Free Times Cafe, 320 College St., TO ~Roots Pop originals; $10
8:30> Betty & The Bobs featuring Soozi Schlanger , Wendell Ferguson, Tannis Slimmon; Katherine Wheatley, David Woodhead & opening set by Holmes Hooke @ Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W., TO West ~eclectic; $22.50
*8:30> Crazy Strings host High Lonesome Wednesdays with opening acoustic act @ Silver Dollar 486 Spadina Ave., TO ~Bluegrass
*8:30> open mic with Jenn Fiorentino @ Earl Of Whitchurch, 6204 Main St., Stouffville
*8:30> Something Country @ The Endzone, 1900 King St. E., Hamilton ~Country
*9> open jam with Tommy Rocker’s Classic Rock show featuring Jim Cornell & members of Still Sunday @ The Loaded Dog, 1921 Lawrence St. E., Scarborough
9-12> Blues Night with Julian Fauth & guests @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~original Jun0-winning Blues
9> Whitebrow @ The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~spooky Folk
9> Patrick Dorie & Trish Robb @ Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., TO West; $10
*9> jam with Michael Zane @ Shakers, 580 Kerr St., Oakville
*9-12> jam with Damage Control @ St. Louis Bar & Grill Ajax, 11 Harwood Ave. S., Ajax
9> Bruce Hughes @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa
*9-1> open mic jam with Whiskey Birds @ Sweetz Lounge, 5289 Hwy 7, Woodbridge-Vaughan
*9:30> open stage with Nicola Vaughan @ Black Swan (downstairs), 154 Danforth Ave., TO East
9:30> Robb Cappelletto Group @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
*9:30-2> jam with Live Animals @ The Unicorn, 175 Eglinton Ave. E., TO North
9:45> Wednesdays Go Pop showcase with tba @ Supermarket, 268 Augusta Ave., TO ~indie
10-12> tba @ Rock ‘N Horse Saloon, 250 Adelaide St. W., TO ~Country; $5
10> Thelonious Hank @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO
10> Local 164 @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave. TO
*10-2> Blues-Rock jam with Bruce Domoney @ Grossman’s, 379 Spadina Ave. TO
*10-2> Paul & Curtis @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~Rock/Pop
10:30> Don Campbell @ The Hideout, 484 Queen St. W., TO ~indie Rock
*10:30> The LMT Connection @ Orbit Room, 580 College St. TO ~Funk/R&B; $10
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