Album Spotlight: Robin Lukas, ‘A Time For…’ (self-released)

Chicago-born pianist/vocalist Robin Lukas delivers a program of fresh takes on classic compositions that is definitely “worth your time.”

Robin Lukas is an internationally acclaimed vocalist/pianist with a penchant for breathing new life into well-worn standards and lesser-known gems. Previous recorded outings have established the Chicago native’s reputation as a major proponent of sophisticated yet danceable music, evoking vintage smoky club atmospheres and embracing the elegant aura of cocktail parties. In addition, over the years, she has honed her craft in recording studio sessions and on the road, performing at many venues and clubs nationally and internationally, enchanting audiences worldwide.

Aside from her original works, throughout her career, Lukas has offered her own artful arrangements of jazz, funk and Latin songs. Most recently, she even impressively applied her idiosyncratic approach to yuletide music on Christmas Charm, released in 2021. Her new album, A Time For finds her offering a sultry program of classic compositions by many of the great composers of the past. The record features her alongside bassist John Lindberg and guitarist Charlie Piper, with Alex Quinnell and Mike Underwood alternating on drums throughout.

The twelve-track collection includes reinterpretations of first-rate compositions by Cole Porter, Miles Davis, Fats Waller and John Coltrane, to name but a few. Despite the wide range of styles these great composers represent, the end result is anything but sparse and inconsistent. On the contrary, it sounds like one harmonious and cohesive whole, speaking to Lukas’ visionary integrity and musical openness.

The program kicks off with a seductive take on Porter’s classic “I Love You” and treads on sophisti-pop territory on its conclusive track, “Heaven of My Life,” a post-disco favoirite of the early 1980s where Lukas doubles on keyboard bass. Her consummate vocal skills are on full showcase on such tracks as the beloved “All the Things You Are” and her refreshing funky take on “Round Midnight.” Her piano chops are on par on such instrumentals as the lights-low “Waltz for Debby” and her version of Coltrane’s “Naima,” which swings with elegance and class.

A dynamic and alluring collection of music, A Time For… is certainly worth any listener’s time and is the latest instalment in Lukas’ body of work, testifying to the artist’s earnest appreciation for standards and classics, as well as to her fresh and innovative spirit.

Robin Lukas’ A Time For… was released on June 1 and you can order it HERE.

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