Barb Jungr - live at Metropolitan Room, NY - Cabaret Scenes


04 September 2008
Cabaret Scenes
Elizabeth Ahlfors

Some performers escort you on a study tour of a particular songwriter. Others share their personal experiences. Barb Jungr, a high-octane dramatist, admits that her show features "the detritus of human relationships. Hopefully it ends up in a philosophical reconciliation." With her lush flexible voice and expressive body language, Jungr gathers you up and directs you on a fiercely charged emotional journey, exploring deeply into the soul and, if she has her way, tearing ruthlessly into the heart. She injects the room with the dark potency of "Lilac Wine," and occasionally she allows some sunlight and air, as with Bob Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight." The sunny side of her song list is minimal, but she does tuck it in, and we cabaret-istas, after all, love those dark places.

Jungr interprets a mix including Bob Dylan, Chip Taylor and Leonard Cohen into I Got Life, her salute to Nina Simone at the Metropolitan Room. Alluding to the Rod Stewart hit, "Maggie May," Jungr delivers a feminine perspective to the May-December liaison. With Chip Taylor's "Angel in the Morning," which Nina Simone recorded, Jungr delves into the sensibilities of the older woman, someone "old enough to face the dawn." Like Simone, Jungr paints characterizations in vibrato, fusing folk, rock, jazz, blues in her predilection towards songs of love and life lived hard. After opening with the Scottish folk song, "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair," which Simone standardized in a woman's version, Jungr tore into "Break Down and Let It All Hang Out," stating her terms with tough authority. She snaps out Jacques Brel's "Song of Old Lovers" with hard, sharp accents, backed by the accordion accompaniment of Jungr's talented piano support, Charlie Giordano. "I'm the Keeper of the Flame" is pure chanteuse stuff, when late night is prime time.

The emotional balance readjusts itself with Jungr's witty patter, a mix of personal and informative. An audacious rhythmic anthem from the civil rights movement has everyone "Feeling Good." Taking the song "I Got Life" from Hair, she quips that Nina Simone messed with the song and "I messed with it, too." With Charlie Giordano's piano on fire behind her, Barb Jungr lets go with a rollicking gospel fervor you can feel in your bones.

Not often do you hear a singer with her own style, singular and unmistakable, and Barb Jungr has all this. Seize the moment, see her show, and enjoy this earthy and passionate spirit.

Barb Jungr presents I Got Life at the Metropolitan Room on September 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20. All shows at 7:30PM.


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