Acclaimed jazz and cabaret singer Barb Jungr, oft-mentioned in the same breath as Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone, is playing four evenings at Zedel, Picadilly’s underground art-deco brasserie and music venue, as part of the London Jazz Festival. She will be performing her new album, Bob, Brel & Me, which comprises of songs from Bob Dylan, whose work she has been drawn to throughout her career, emotive Belgian singer Jacques Brel, and her own compositions.
Barb’s relationship with Dylan has lasted throughout her career, her ability to imbue her own brand of pathos and poignance to his songs leading to critics around the world celebrating her as Dylan’s definitive interpreter. On her new album, Barb swoons around mournful horns on Tambourine Man; This Wheel’s on Fire bristles with mischief and malevolence; Buckets of Rain becomes a towering prayer to love, whilst A Simple Twist of Fate evokes the nightclub jazz of Cleo Laine.
With brand-new translations of Jacques Brel’s lyrics by Robb Johnson (fully approved by both his daughter and the Brel Foundation), Barb’s renditions of some of Brel’s most treasured songs become even more breath-taking in their scope and meaning. The Cathedral becomes one of Barb’s most heart-wrenching performances; If We Only had Love becomes truly hymnal, seeing her backed by The Fourth Choir, London’s celebrated LGBTQ+ ensemble.
Her own tracks are no less powerful, including the introspective Incurable Romantic and the forthcoming single, Rise and Shine, offers a glimpse into Barb’s irresistible sense of mischief and true ‘up and at ‘em’ pizzazz. The track No-One Could Ever Wear Your Shoes, an older track co-written with her much-missed musical partner, Michael Parker, has particular poignance. This album is a collection of love songs: its breadth of emotion covers everything from punctured love to the love between friends, lust, loss and all points in between.
10 & 11 October and 15 & 16 November 2019
Brasserie Zédel, 20 Sherwood Street, London, W1F 7ED
Tickets £25, via brasseriezedel.com