Black Gardenia – Lucky Star – Vintage Jazz 

by | Mar 25, 2018 | Jazz CD Reviews

A self assured vocalist supported by a cohesive band

Black Gardenia – Lucky Star – Vintage Jazz 5369123477 46:28***

In horticultural terms, a Black Gardenia is not an actual flower. But in musical realm, Black Gardenia is a Vancouver B.C. based vintage jazz band that combines jazz, country, folk and blues from the 20s,30s and 40s in a fresh concoction that’s easy on the ears. Their latest Vintage Jazz release is Lucky Star and builds nicely off their previous effort No Moon At All.   

Led by singer and ukulele exponent Daphne Roubini, this tight little band knows it way around the genre, and gives respect to the music to which it is devoted. A quick look at the track list on this release, signifies that all the ingredients are present to satisfy their explorative disposition. They begin with “What A Little Moonlight Can Do” with Roubini’s light breeze voice setting the tone for this fast paced interpretation. There is some snappy guitar execution from Andrew Smith and Paul Pigat to add some lustre to the arrangement.

“Green Dolphin Street” is  less frequently heard as a vocal, although Sarah Vaughan did a Latin version in 1950 that was masterful with a high C closing. Roubini’s spunky version is more in the Blossom Dearie style and has an alternative, unfamiliar lyric, yet is effective. Chris Davis offers some interesting trumpet fills. The title track “Lucky Star” is an original composition by Roubini and it has little thematic resemblance to Madonna’s Lucky Star. With her meticulous approach and spare proficiency, Roubini delivers an interesting lyrical narrative.

Moving into a bluesy groove, Roubini tackles the T-Bone Walker classic “I’m Just Waiting For Your Call”. As the band lays down a reassuring beat, Roubini adeptly offers an expressive account of the number.  Regardless of the source material, whether a blues or an original number like “Melancholy Moon,” Roubini shows the capacity to settle in any style with adaptability.

The album closes with a swinging version of “Bye Bye Blues” which in addition to Roubini’s lilting vocal, the band carves out its own niche with a couple of fluent solos from violinist Cameron Wilson and trumpeter Chris Davis.

TrackList: What Little Moonlight Can Do; I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You); Green Dolphin Street; I Told You So; You’re A Sweetheart; Lucky Star; That’s My Desire; You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To; I’m Just Waitin’ For Your Call; Green Rocky Road; The Nearness Of You; Melancholy Moon; Bye Bye Blues

Performing Artists:

Daphne Roubini – vocals & ukulele; Andrew Smith, Paul Pigat, Stephen Nikleva – guitars; Brent Gubbels, Michael Rush, Patrick Metzger – bass; Chris Davis – trumpet; Andrew Smith – ukelele; Cameron Wilson – violin; Connor Stewart – tenor saxophone; Jimmy Roy – lap steel guitar

—Pierre Giroux

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