Barb Jungr - Shelter From The Storm - Jazzwise

Vocalist Barb Jungr pulls off quite a coup on her ninth album for Linn, securing the services of Kurt Elling's erstwhile pianist and arranger, Laurence Hobgood. Subtitled Songs Of Hope For Troubled Times, Jungr captures the longing at the heart of album opener 'Bali Hai' to moving effect. Especially noted for her interpretations of Dylan and Cohen, it comes as no surprise that 'Shelter From The Storm' and 'Sisters of Mercy' are both standouts. Full of subtle reharmonisations, metrical shifts, and the contrasting (occasionally layered) timbres of acoustic and electric pianos - and even some atmospheric whistling on 'All Along The Watchtower/In Your Eyes' - Hobgood's arrangements are outstanding, serving to cast the material in an entirely new light. Olatuja and Torres complete the always empathetic quartet. The album includes a trio of urbane originals penned by Jungr and Hobgood, of which 'Venus Rising' lingers longest in the memory. The swinging version of 'Life On Mars' which closes the door on this fine album possesses a special poignancy.

01 March 2016