Since moving to the West Coast from New York City, jazz vocalist Diane Hubka has worked with a different group of musicians than on earlier CDs. Her first recording since the cross-country move finds her in top form, backed by an outstanding group including pianist/arranger Christian Jacob (who works with both Tierney Sutton and Flora Purim and was with his late father-in-law Maynard Ferguson for a time), trumpeter and flugelhornist Carl Saunders (a leader in his own right and member of various all-star Los Angeles big bands), guitarist Larry Koonse, bassist Chris Colangelo and drummer Joe LaBarbera (the late Bill Evans' last drummer). Hubka's subtle vocal style works in her favor, as the cool-toned singer doesn't use a lot of theatrics to get lyrics across, while she occasionally enjoys scatting in unison with her musicians in an engaging way. One of the her strengths has been choosing lesser known or out of favor songs; her theme for this outing consists of works debuted in movies, many of which will surprise the listener. Her modern bop treatment of the decades-old "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm," the gently seductive interpretation of "The Look of Love" (with lush backing by Jacob), the playful bossa nova setting of "He's a Tramp" and the hip rendition of "Close Enough for Love" (featuring Koonse and Colangelo) showcase how wide-ranging a musician Hubka is. Perhaps the greatest surprise is "You Only Live Twice," from the James Bond film series; her understated delivery with minimal backing from her rhythm section reveals a great song that was hidden in its movie debut due to an overblown arrangement. Finally, Hubka accompanies herself on acoustic guitar in a masterful performance of "Manhã de Carnaval" (sung in Portuguese). Diane Hubka adds to her impressive résumé as one of the top jazz vocalists of her generation with this all-around excellent disc.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden