Saving the best for last: Barbra Lica and band put on the show of the series

Barbra Lica and band, from left: Joel Visentin, Lica, Mark Godfrey, Tom Fleming and Will Fraser finxish the show off with a soothing version of Edith Piaf’s La Vie En Rose, April 12 at The Centre. Photos by Chris Marchand

By Chris Marchand

What’s not to lica about Bar…(ugh, I’m sorry. I’ll stop this lede right now).

Barbra Lica proved herself the classic example of the conundrum facing Dryden Entertainment Series patrons — the choice between staying home, or taking a chance on a mostly unknown quantity.

Aside from the 100 or so people in the seats, the rest of you who stayed home deserve to know the depth of the mistake you’ve made.

The Toronto-based effervescent jazz pixie brought with her a band of lost boys (Mark Godfrey on bass, Will Fisher on drums, Joel Visentin on piano and Tom Fleming on guitar) whose technical virtuosity rivalled the very best of players who have graced The Centre’s stage.

That’s not to say the evening was a deep dive into the esoteric, freeform experience that jazz can sometimes be. It was a carefully curated evening of standards, originals, even a jazzed up cover cover of 90s hit ‘Lovefool’ by The Cardigans, made accessible by Lica’s flawless voice and a musical precision we rarely get to appreciate in Northwestern Ontario. The outfit struck a nice balance between well-rehearsed arrangements and brief but thrilling forays into instrumental abandon.

A jumpy, Django Reinhardt-style influenced much of the night, giving the evening a ‘Paris in the ‘20s sort of vibe, capped off with a lovely cover of Edith Piaf’s ‘La Vie En Rose’.

Lica’s show capped off the 2017-18 Dryden Entertainment Series, check out what the series has to offer in 2018-19 with a newly announced lineup at www.drydenentertainmentseries.ca.

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