Can a young singer from a small town in western Maryland make it in the competitive big-city jazz scene? Well, in little more than five years, Diane Hubka has journeyed from neighborhood bar gigs such as Frostburg's Blue Moon Saloon to Blues Alleym where she will sing tomorrow night with a group she has put together for the occasion. Pianist Wade Beach will be joined by Bassist Steve Bronk, guitarist Jack Zucker and drummer Mike Smith.
Hubka caught the jazz bug in her last year of college (Frostburg State) from her guitar teacher Bill Bittner who backed up vocalist Anita O'Day in Los Angeles in the '50s. They formed a group that worked Frostburg watering holes where patrons would respond to Hubka's "Perdido" and "Misty" with, "You sound just like those old movies."
When Hubka moved to Washington in 1979 she "went to every jazz club and heard as much music as I could--I had a voracious appetite for jazz." But she soon learned that only hard work would prepare her for a career in the music so she studied constantly and still takes instruction in voice, guitar and piano.
Jam sessions at the One Step Down and Charlie's, sitting in at Mr. Y's, stints with area big bands and combos and weekend bookings at the Icehouse and Park Place have made her a familiar sight--and sound--on Washington area bandstands.
The swing era through bebop is Hubka's turf but she maintains an open ear for anything that comes along. "I felt an affinity for jazz right away," she says, "but I've learned that the best musicians play all styles and enjoy all different kinds of music."