Almost every song from Babs Gonzales is a duet with New York. Though ultimately a behind-the-scenes influence, ‘Voila!’ displays Gonzales wielding the squalor and excess of the scene and the city. Most notable is his be-bop style, which helped catapult the theatrics of vocal jazz towards bravado and melodic improvisation. The record reaches further than its ‘Mr. Cool’ style suggests: tracks like ‘Cool Cookin’’ have a shattering, punk style informed by his beat poetry that could be imitated today and sound appropriate. Babs moved with just about every big New York name. He remains an imitated cult figure who inspires endless respect and humour.
A favourite: ‘Cool Cookin’’