Pianist Bruno Hubert
is a local delight and one of the hidden gems of Jazz. I first saw Bruno play here in Vancouver back in 1993 shortly after a cross-Canada permanent escape from Toronto in a loaded down pick-up. Bruno impressed me then with his intensity, emotional commitment, and almost Sage-like aura.
I lost track of Bruno and the Jazz scene in general in the late 90’s but I am now making up for lost time. That quest brought me out to the Emerald Lounge on the edge of China Town earlier this summer. Bruno was leading a funky trio on his, apparently well traveled, Fender Rhodes piano. From this performance, my conviction that this French Canadian transplant was important (not to mention entertaining) was solidified.
I learned that Bruno holds court most Friday nights at The Libra Room where his eminently swinging trio plays the opening set at 7pm. At this groovy perch on the Drive, those attending, lubricated by local libations, marvel as Bruno summons audacious, yet correct, improvised melodies over familiar jazz standards from a tired looking yet shockingly compliant honky-tonk upright.
It seemed a crime to me (perhaps one that I was complicit in) that there was no cover charge (I did tip the optional music fund), and that I sat yet 5 feet from this jazz genius. I would hit the Libra every Friday if I didn’t have other responsibilities, but such is not the case. So I went looking to find recordings of Bruno through the normal channels.
Enter Live At The Cellar, a 2008 recording at the sadly now defunct legendary West Broadway establishment of the same name, featuring Bruno, ubiquitous bassist Andre Lachance and Juno winner (for trumpet) Brad Turner sporting some serious drum chops.
Live At the Cellar, while certainly not new, is, to my listening, representative of the best jazz performances by local musicians and can easily sit on heavy rotation in my jukebox along with any of the jazz greats past and present.
More on this to follow…