Debra Milne Jazz

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Debra's CD and Gig Reviews

BARB JUNGR AND JOHN MCDANIEL: COME TOGETHER

Posted by gabzas331 on November 2, 2016 at 9:20 AM

Barb Jungr – vocal & harmonicas; John McDaniel – piano & vocal.

‘Come Together’ is the latest album from internationally acclaimed cabaret chanteuse & jazz performer Barb Jungr. Previously she has undertaken projects that have focussed on a broad range of individual artists, including Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Elvis, Nina Simone & Peggy Lee. Now, in collaboration with pianist & arranger John McDaniel, she has turned her attention to the Beatles Songbook. With around 237 originals the choice is wide, and the selection includes songs from throughout the band’s career, including some lesser known gems, wisely avoiding the most over played Lennon/McCartney standards.

The opening piano intro is a brief musical reference to ‘Let It Be’, and makes a rapid transition to an up tempo & fresh interpretation of ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ . The stripped down piano and voice format enable McCartney’s outstanding lyrics to come to the fore, and this is particularly effective in ‘Things We Said Today’, ‘For No One’, The Fool On The Hill and ‘Eleanor Rigby’. McDaniel’s piano accompaniment is sensitive and dynamic, and he provides backing harmonies, & takes lead vocal for 2 of my favourite lesser known Beatles songs ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ and George Harrison’s ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (whilst remaining on the piano). In three tracks 2 or more songs are combined; ‘Getting Better/Here, There and Everywhere’, ‘Something/The Long and Winding Road’, and ‘It’s For You/Step Inside Love’, the latter a pairing of tunes McCartney wrote for Cilla Black. Perhaps this approach was inspired by the Beatles own medley on ‘Abbey Road’ (this reviewer’s favourite Beatles album), however I’m not sure it adds much musically other than enabling the inclusion of a few more pieces.

Sometimes it is hard to compensate for the mastery of George Martin’s arrangements and production, so whilst ‘Back In The USSR’ is transformed to a lively bluesy, honkytonk number, with a harmonica solo from Jungr, it is no match for the original Beach Boys’ pastiche on the White Album. However, as with many of these great songs, McDaniel & Jungr really get hold of the title track ‘Come Together’ and make it their own. Overall, a worthy project, and it would be great to see the duo’s interpretations as a live performance.

 

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