Barb Jungr - Shelter From The Storm - Jazz Views

Born in Rochdale of German/ Czech parentage Barb Jungr is a vocalist almost beyond category. Famed for her interpretations of the Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen songbooks she enjoys a high profile on the United States cabaret scene where she picks up awards on an almost yearly basis. All sixteen albums under her own name have received high critical acclaim whether they have showcased work by other composers or highlighting the burgeoning repertoire of her own songs. She is equally at home in the worlds of jazz and quality contemporary song, also proving on many occasions that she is a live performer of the highest quality. 

For this release, recorded at The Sear Sound Studios in New York she has been able to call upon pianist Laurence Hobgood who has been the main accompanist on Kurt Elling's last ten albums all of which have been Grammy nominated. The album proves that they have found the perfect match. The outstanding bass player Michael Olatuja has been recruited from the bands of Terence Blanchard and Lisa Stansfield, alongside top Broadway percussionist Wilson Torres. With these musicians Barb Jungr has been able to produce her first fully jazz orientated album. There are three of her own compositions, written alongside Laurence Hobgood, two show tunes plus five modern standards completing an absorbing fifty five minutes. Her own lyric writing finds new heights, particularly on "Stars Lazy But Shining" where her full vocal range comes into play against a tasteful piano background and "Hymn To Nina" delivered with warmth and affection. The two show songs "Bali Hi" from South Pacific and "Somethings Coming" from West Side Story are both given new life and benefit from an haunting vocals and masterful piano solos. David Bowie's "Life On Mars" and Dylan's "All Along The Watch Tower", interestingly segued with "In Your Eyes" both receive the full torch treatment. 

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. In summary this highly engaging set of quality recordings is one that many will return to time and again.

Jazz Views
01 March 2016