By: Edward Blanco

While the era of supper clubs has long past, their existence—during the hey days of the 1930s and 1940s—left an indelible mark on our music and the American culture. Now jazz vocalist Laura Hull & Her Jazz Gems band release a live recording in tribute to the golden era of supper clubs. An experienced road-traveled performer who has played the resorts of upstate New York’s fabled Catskill Mountains and tapped as “Best Female Vocalist” by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs, Hull seems supremely suited to the task of crafting such a homage.

Recoded live in 2009 at Richie Cecere’s Supper Club in Montclair, NJ, this album provides a selection of thirteen well-known standards from the Great American Songbook featuring Hull’s lush and sensuous vocals backed up by a core quartet including guitarist Lenny Argese who has since passed away and of which, this project is dedicated. “Lullaby of the Leaves” kicks off the music with Argese’s guitar and Tony Jefferson’s drumming chops backing up Hull’s crisp performance. Johnny Mercer’s “Dream” takes off with light tender moments from the singer and a nice piano solo from Pat Firth.

While Firth and bassist Saadi Zain perform on the majority of the tracks, pianist Ted Brancato and bassist Steve LaSpina take over on three pieces (“Alone Together,” “Comes Love” and “I Wish I Knew) recorded on the first session. Hull is particularly warm on ballads like “I Can’t Get Started,” “How Strange,” and “Only the Lonely” her most ambitious piece of the set. The tribute winds down with “I Wish I Knew,” the Sinatra staple “Call Me” and finally Irving Berlin’s classic “How Deep is the Ocean.” There are no weak moments on Supper Club, all of the dishes are served up warm to sizzling hot with tasteful vocals from Laura Hull providing the meat of this album.

Year: 2011
Label: Self Published
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