Luba Mason, Triangle Review
by Ferell Aubre
Vocalist Luba Mason is back with a collection of tunes that span Brazillian songs to chart-topping hits from the pop scene. Mason’s choice of songs includes “Toxicity” by System of a Down, Colombian pop tunes, and a Beatles classic. She is joined by vibraphonist Joe Locke, bassist James Genus and guest percussionist Samuel Torres on three tracks. “I was looking for a real unexpected tune to challenge this lineup,” Mason said in an email to DownBeat. “This heavy metal song by System of a Down with a jazz chart fit the bill.” The ten-song album is called Triangle and was produced by Renato Neto.
“Ticket to Ride” is a relaxed arrangement of this Beatles classic. Torres joins to add his percussion sounds. Mason’s vocals are sensual and match the relaxed feel laid down by Genus and Locke. Her fills and ornaments to the melody are enjoyable. Locke’s solo flows with melody and is locked with Genus’ robust acoustic bass sound. This track was recorded in front of a live audience, and the crowd’s energy can be heard in the group’s performance.
Monk’s “In Walked Bud” opens with Locke’s feature, who plays a stirring improvisation based around the melody. Mason sings with influences of the bebop tradition as she keeps her eights swinging and articulating the style. Locke takes a more post-bop approach to his solo. Genus’ improvisation is in the pocket and active, with much appreciation from the crowd. Mason’s playful interpretation of the melody through the final form was something.
Triangle presents ten varying songs in a creative manner that will intrigue the jazz listener. The audience adds to the recording energy, and the playing and singing is inspired by the audience’s participation too. Mason’s idea of pulling from many genres is a winning part of the recording, keeping things fresh and unexpected.