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Barb Jungr - Waterloo Sunset - Jazz Views

05 April 2004
Jazz Views
Jill Tardivel

Barb Jungr has a voice that is tailor-made for jazz and talent for the undercurrents and inflections of interpretation. If she sang the nutritional information from a cornflakes box I would still want to listen; and possibly emit a sympathetic sigh for those unable to get a daily fix of niacin, thiamine, riboflavin and music. As you gather, Barb Jungr's third and latest CD, did not disappoint me.

Jungr's voice is ripe and resonant with husky undercurrents that justify comparisons with Edith Piaf or Nina Simone. However, her command of expression - emotionally rich but carefully balanced - also earns her a place in this super-league of female singers.

The 12-track CD includes three Jungr compositions - the introductory ‘Do you play guitar', ‘Written down in the dark again' and ‘Lipstick lips lament'; all are thought provoking. The first is a retrospective perusal of relationships in a folksy balladic style. "Written down in the dark again" is a powerful piece with darker more downbeat atmosphere, where Jungr's voice is neatly accented by York's supporting piano. For me this is one of the best tracks on the CD. ‘Lipstick lips lament' is a much more upbeat piece in US cabaret-style which permits not only Jungr but also her backing musicians to strut their stuff in exemplary style.

Dylan is something of a speciality of Barb Jungr and this CD contains two Dylan tracks ‘High Water' and Like a Rolling Stone', which were not included on her earlier CD of Dylan compositions: ‘Every grain of sand'. ‘High Water' is frustratingly good - in a different league to the following track ‘Cathy's Clown', which is well executed but can't pushed further than the material permits. ‘High water' is not an easy composition but this is a strong and confident interpretation in which Jungr switches effortlessly though the moods with a dark bass and piano support.

It's above all a matter of style and Jungr's preferred metier is cabaret. ‘High water' and the final track ‘The joker' provide a glimpse of the superb blues CD that she could produce. However her approach on this CD is more eclectic and a few of the tracks are frustratingly light. I can appreciate her ability to sing across musical styles but I also know she has the voice and talent to become a memorable jazz/blues singer should she move in that direction and eschew the Barb-lite tracks. Whatever genre Barb Jungr chooses, however, she will be proficient, and this has resulted a well-produced CD, which will repay repeated listening.

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