It’s ironic that Barb Jungr unveiled her latest set of songs at The Crazy Coqs last night. The venue is London’s finest cabaret room with its art deco styling, plush red velvet curtains and seating for all – a delight for all the senses. However, Barb’s new set following in her shows featuring Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, features songs connected to another of London’s famous music venues, The Marquee Club. The club which started out in Oxford Street but became really famous when it moved to 90 Wardour Street in 1964 was the place to see the top solo singers and bands (or groups as they were called back in the day). Unlike Crazy Coqs, it was very seedy and run down with sticky floors and walls that held the condensation like a sponge but it was all about the music and what fantastic music it was. Anyone who was anyone played there including The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Who (who had a residency there) and many, many more and for over twenty years it was the place to go to hear some astounding music.
In her new show, Jungr has chosen to showcase a number of those bands and singers who played there and made The Marquee world famous. During her seventy-five-minute set, she sang songs by the likes of Cream (“Sunshine Of Your Love”), Traffic (“Paper Sun”) The Yardbirds (“For Your Love”), Jethro Tull (“Living In The Past”) and The Walker Brothers (“No Regrets”). There were also songs by Paul Simon, Led Zeppelin and John Martyn. She included an amazing medley of three songs “Flowers In The Rain”, “Hole In My Shoe” and “Itchycoo Park” that she said were like an LSD trip – before, during and after – although the band hadn’t agreed with her theory in rehearsals! The highlight of an exceptional evening was a stunning, visceral version of The Who’s “Substitute” that almost took the paint off the walls. Being a new show, once or twice Jungr seemed to be feeling her way around the complicated arrangements – she even started the show by saying “This will be as surprising for you as it is for me” but there was only a minor blip or two along the way and it didn’t detract from her bravura performance.
In between the thirteen or so songs, Jungr entertained with tales about her political views, trains, living in Rochdale, stopping fights in bars, clompy shoes and big capes – she was as entertaining and funny as usual and had the sold-out audience in the palm of her hand. Ably backed by the ever-wonderful Jenny Carr on piano (they’ve been collaborating for over twenty years), Dudley Phillips on sublime acoustic bass guitar and the delightfully understated Jonathan Lee on drums and percussion, the sound was perfection.
Once again, the country’s top interpreter of songs from the sixties, seventies and eighties has put together a fantastic selection of songs that allows her to find new ways of singing them in a way that never ceases to amaze and delight. Barb Jungr puts on a wonderful show whatever songs she’s putting her own unique stamp on – a powerhouse of energy that is always a joy to see live wherever she plays.
Review by Alan Fitter
Described as “Britain’s most gifted song stylist” and “one of Europe’s most intriguing and intelligent interpreters of the contemporary song”, multi-award-winning vocalist Barb Jungr has successfully combined the intricacies of cabaret with the power of jazz to create a unique concept of popular music. This new collection “Barb Jungr My Marquee” premieres for the EFG London Jazz Festival at Crazy Coqs with Jenny Carr on piano, Dudley Phillips on bass and Jonathan Lee on drums and is the launch of the new EP.
Barb Jungr and her Trio: My Marquee
(part of EFG London Jazz Festival)
18 November at 7pm