Related Reviews
Tor Hammerø Blog
'...this is an enjoyable collaboration with Jungr and her excellent NY band, where Hobgood again shows which an eminent keyboardist he is.'
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Boycotting Trends
'Jungr brilliantly hot-wires us to the present moment by turning the clock back, finding relevant content in older material...'
more >>
O's Place Jazz Newsletter
'The musicians help Barb deliver heartfelt expressions of classic covers as well as her original tunes. We enjoyed "Stars Lazy But Shining" and "Hymn To Nina" (for Nina Simone) most in a set that reflects on societal issues, hope and inspiration.'
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Jazz Times
'What matters is the exquisite quality of the work – their union of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" with Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" is a particular standout – its immense value heightened by three superb Jungr-Hobgood originals, including an astute nod to Nina Simone.'
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AXS
'Her voice rises up from the depths of despair to indeed provide hope for troubled times...Jungr, a critically acclaimed, fearless powerhouse of a vocalist, wears her heart on her sleeve come what may.'
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The Huffington Post
'Jungr is so supernal at what she does that she transcends any sort of easy categorizing and rises to a uniquely higher plane. Part of the explanation is her ability to delve into songs and find things in them even their manufacturers hadn't realized were there.'
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New York Times
'Ms. Jungr, a passionate Dylanologist, can squeeze more juice out of a Dylan song than just about anybody.'
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Pop Culture Classics
'Blessed with an extraordinary voice and a keen understanding of lyrics, Jungr interprets greats songs with a rare sensitivity and originality. Every number radiates Jungr's moving vocal magic.'
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All About Jazz
'The most innovative singer in jazz since Cassandra Wilson...'
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Specs Blog
'thing of wonder'
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Jazz Weekly
'Lots of original ideas here, and [Barb] makes them all seem logical as well as fresh.'
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The Telegraph
4 Stars
'Barb Jungr is the alchemist among jazz singers. She takes dubious songs, and turns them into gold. And she takes songs we already knew were gold, and makes them interestingly different… She is truly a marvel, who should not be missed.'
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Midwest Record
'Another winning set for the cabaret crew on Mars.'
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Choice
'Barb has that uncanny ability to burrow to the heart of a song and make it her own.'
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Record Collector
'Barb Jungr explores an eclectic repertoire on the haunting Shelter From The Storm.'
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Jazzwise
4 Stars
'Vocalist Barb Jungr pulls off quite a coup on her ninth album for Linn...this fine album possesses a special poignancy.'
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The New Listener
'...with her voice she can spread hope and joy, her sound also protects you from the strongest storm.'
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R2
4 Stars
'Superb...she sings with enormous intellectual and emotional clarity on a marvellously eclectic repertoire...'
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Jazz Views
'The overall standard set on this album, is extremely high but as with all Barb Jungr recordings, there is always one track that takes the bar even higher. On this occasion it is the Joni Mitchell classic rock anthem "Woodstock" where the restrained vocal delivery is no less than spine chilling with piano, bass and drums fully catching the mood and reflection of the era.'
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BBC Radio Scotland ‘The Jazz House’
'Barb is unrivalled as a song stylist. She brings great depth and insight to the song.'
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The Sunday Times
'Just about the best Dylan interpreter around, Jungr dissects the title song against a McCoy Tyner-ish backdrop.'
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Sunday Mercury
Album of the Week: 'ambitious'
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BBC Radio Merseyside ‘On the Beat’
'You’ll know this song, but never like this before.'
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The Crack
'The pair have crafted three new songs (which are well worth the admission alone)...Wonderful.'
more >>
Boycotting Trends
'Through her passionate, sensitive and intelligent reinterpretations, Jungr continues to ensure that the work of many artists "lives on" in vibrant and re-energised ways.'
more >>

Barb Jungr - Shelter From The Storm - Kind of Jazz


23 January 2016
Kind of Jazz
Matthew Ruddick

Jungr offers songs of hope for troubled times, including three fine new compositions.

In our review of Barb Jungr's last CD, Hard Rain, we noted that she was probably more of an interpreter than a jazz singer. That album featured the songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and Dylan's songs have featured heavily in her back catalogue. The new album, Shelter From The Storm - whilst named after a Dylan song - is quite different in emphasis. The album was recorded in New York, rather than the UK, and saw her working and writing with Laurence Hobgood, a jazz pianist and arranger best known for his long collaboration with Kurt Elling.

The album still features a number of covers of classic singer-songwriters, including Dylan, Cohen, Mitchell and Bowie, so there's plenty for her existing fans to enjoy, but she also includes three of her own compositions, all written in conjunction with Hobgood.

The Dylan and Cohen covers are, as one has come to expect from Jungr, quite superb. The title track featured on Blood On The Tracks, one of the many highpoints of Dylan's long career. It opens with her singing over a cool bass line by English bass player Michael Olatuja, before Hobgood comes in, contributing some fine piano and a highly effective arrangement. Sisters Of Mercy, from Cohen's debut album, is even better, opening with a delicate piano introduction, and eventually giving way to an unexpected Latin arrangement. But my favourite was All Along The Watchtower, which she sings to the melody of Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes. It sounds like it shouldn't work, but it does, and yet again, she succeeds in making the song her own.

Not all of the covers work so well. Joni Mitchell's Woodstock starts slowly, but soon becomes funky, with Hobgood playing keyboard as well as piano. Life On Mars?/Space Oddity was obviously recorded before the sad news that Bowie had passed away, but the cabaret-style arrangement sounded out of place with the remainder of the album.

Something's Coming, a Bernstein tune from West Side Story, with it's Latin-percussion, courtesy of a Wilson Torres, and spare piano line, was far better, with Jungr's vocal a delight.

But perhaps the biggest surprise on Shelter is the quality of Jungr's own compositions. Stars Lazy But Shining is a straight-ahead jazz tune, and could easily pass for a classic from the American songbook, whilst Venus Rising is less jazzy, but fits with the other singer-songwriter material on the album. Hymn To Nina, as the name suggests, is a heartfelt tribute to Nina Simone, and is the pick of the bunch - all the more effective because Jungr does not try to mimic Simone's unique style, but sings about what Nina meant to her.

I was probably expecting more of a traditional jazz vocal album, given Hobgood's involvement, but for the most part, Jungr plays to her strengths here. The partnership with the pianist works well, not only in terms of his musicianship and arrangements, but also in the contributions to her own writing. Hopefully we'll hear more of Jungr's own songs next time around.


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