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Judy Barnett: Press

Judy Barnett's JAZZ-A-TERIA       November 17, 2009

Written by Jan Wallman  

SUPERB is the word for JUDY BARNETT'S JAZZ-A-TERIA's performance in the show, and well it should be. This lady is not only a phenomenally gifted Jazz singer, she has the best musicians and her choice of songs is brilliant. In the first set at Iridium, there were four top-drawer songs for which she wrote the lyrics, with music by her outstanding pianist Ted Kooshian, who also did some of the arrangements along with Bud Burridge.

Judy's joy working with her musicians was so obvious that it was evident to the audience. The aggregation consisted of the aforementioned pianist Ted Kooshian, Ray Marchica (drums), Marco Panascia (bass), Marshal Rosenberg (percussion), Nate Ecklund (trumpet), Charles Pillow (alto sax/flute), Jeff Lederer (tenor sax) and Pete McGuiness (trombone), each of them being strong ensemble players who, in this presentation, also had a chance to shine as soloists. Pete McGuiness could be described as a truly sensitive trombone player, even though that expression might be deemed an oxymoron - well you had to be there. His accompaniment and solo work were as exquisite as you're gonna hear.

The songs ranged from Judy and Ted's originals, jazz standards and the American popular songbook. Five of the songs are on the Judy Barnett CD, Too Darn Hot, available on CDBaby.com. I heartily recommend it.

The comfortable Iridium is a room with a great sound system, excellent sight lines and a stage large enough for a fair-size band, and the food and the service are very good. Quite often on weeknights, the first set audience is invited to stay for the 10pm set with just a food/drink minimum. The house waiving the cover charge is a very good buy for a pleasant club with a high standard of music. Let's hope they book JUDY BARNETT'S JAZZ-A-TERIA back soon, and hope that she'll reprise a high point of this show, "Bali Ha’i" (Rodgers and Hammerstein - but you knew that), and I bet she can be persuaded to sing her own "Hymn For Her," which won't show up too shabbily along with R and H, or Cole Porter, or anyone else she opts to sing.

THIS JUST IN: Meanwhile Judy and Group are playing their last date of 2009 at the uptown jazz club SMOKE on Wednesday, December 23. May I suggest that night out as a good Christmas present for a fellow music lover?

JUDY BARNETT
Too Darn Hot
(Montserrat)
 
One listen to Judy Barnett’s instantly infectious Too Darn Hot, and it’s easy to understand why this amazing vocalist has six MAC Jazz Vocalist awards sitting on her shelf at home. Backed by sizzling arrangements conceived by Barnett and realized by brassman Bud Burridge, Barnett puts together a 15-song set that’s as breezy as it is sultry and as bright as it is shaded by her enveloping style.
            The big band swing and Barnett’s completely frank vocals are a perfect mix here, each complementing the other sublimely. And when Barnett steps back from the mic to let her 14 equally hot musicians have their time in the spotlight, you don’t know whether to jump up and go knock on your neighbors’ doors to form a spontaneous conga line or settle back and just savor the instrumental magic they create.
            While almost totally recognizable titles are assembled on Too Darn Hot, there is an incredible sense of newness infused into the selections through Barnett’s take on them. Spitting out the lyric of the title track before letting loose with a final snarling belt, Barnett delivers 53 minutes of pure excitement and seduction on electrifying renderings of Bali Ha’i, Night and Day, That Sunday That Summer and exquisite pairings of April In Paris/My Cherie Amour, Indian Summer/A Summer Place and It Might As Well Be Spring/It’s Delovely. The shuffle-jump of Barnett and pianist Ted Kooshian’s Bummer Summer is an absolute delight, but, then again, so is this whole collection. Perfect to heat up a cold winter’s night, this summer sampler is one to be played year-round. And ya just gotta love the fact that the CD itself looks like a miniature vinyl LP. Too darn cool.
                         — Jeff Rossen
Jeff Rossen - Cabaret Scenes
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press release 10.05.2007 21:10 jazz

JUDY BARNETT'S "TOO DARN HOT" IS A TRIUMPH!! Rating: 5 stars.

JUDY BARNETT'S "TOO DARN HOT" IS A TRIUMPH!! Rating: 5 stars.
Review By Maximillien de Lafayette. Submitted by Carol Lexter.


PARIS- Cole Porter's Too Darn Hot is the first song on the CD. In this song, Barnett displayed a captivating innovation characterized by a joyful tempo, a vivacious mood of musical virtuosity...a splendid splash of musical lights and sensual cadence bursted out of the magnificent brass section, the elegance of Ted Kooshian on the piano like drops of diamonds over the face of a lake splashing unrestrained rings of beauty, add to this musical tableau, the intimate and clever touch of Tom Hubbard on the bass... and Barnett's voice, a sound out of this world; it is intelligent, bubbly and powerful without loosing lyricism, depth and substance. This singer has perfected her craft. Barnett loves to be referred to as a Jazz singer. But in this CD, Barnett transcends the dogmatic frontier of traditional Jazz. She is way beyond the "ordinary Jazz". She appears as a world class singer radiating elegance, panache and a perfect command of the lyrics and fabric of music. In this context, Barnett shines as a glowing interpreter of world music, rather than a rigidly defined Jazz singer. Few have accomplished this.
Joe Ascione's drums are powerful and harmoniously blend with the captivating rhythm of the total ambiance. The orchestration of the trumpet, flugelhorn, tenor sax, trombone and alto sax is well crafted and embodies a universe of musical explosion and implosion. A rich, very rich arrangement at the highest level and a world-class performance by Bud Burridge, Jerry Weldon, Aaron Heick, Charles Pillow and Randy Andos. And here and there, Barnett's superb voice enrobes the musical wealth of the CD with sensual lyricism, vitality and stylish finesse. This was evidenced in two songs "My Cherie Amour" and "April in Paris." Usually, we listen to music because we need to create an ambiance for our feelings, our state of mind or perhaps, just perhaps to relax amid turbulent sensations and emotions. Judy Barnett's "Too Darn Hot" goes 2 miles beyond those emotional needs. This CD sets the mood for us before probing our inner feelings. It generates and transmutes moods to meet and or to create the aura and ambiance of the perfect setting of mind, soul and body. You could feel this enchanting and magic ambiance in the explosive "Summer in the City" and "Bummer Summer" written by Kooshian and Barnett herself. Go back to "It Might As Well Be Spring/It's Delovely" and get yourself lost in a rainbow of elegant drums brushes and nostalgic trombone outcries. Simply fabulous. The arrangements were conceived by Ms. Barnett with additional arrangement by the virtuoso Bud Burridge who did a magnificent job. Mr. Burridge granted each instrument the space and time to echo individual musical virtuosity and a rich sequence of sounds rarely heard nowadays. Give him 5 star rating!
"That Sunday That Summer" is one of the finest recordings in a decade. In that tune, The violins radiate unmatched musical beauty, an evocative instrumental splendor only witnessed in Mantovanni's arrangements and orchestration. Few jazz singers used this unorthodox blend of classic flair and musical free form in their Jazz repertoire, to name two: Nat King Cole and Judy Barnett. I keep thinking about Barnett's Voice; it blends with all the moods and genres of the CDs tunes, ranging from a contemplative/relaxing set of mind to a beautifully and sinfully explosive musical ambiance. To sense this unusual blend, listen to "Nigh and Day"; Frank Vignola's guitar solo reflects this most unique creativity! In "Walk Between The Raindrops", the sax solo is majestic, powerful, yet it does not violate the sensibility and finesse of the musical cadence. Another knockout is "Indian Summer/Summer Place"; it served as a plateau for the fabulous musical arrangements, the romantically rich whispers of the violins and the silky, intelligent and soul penetrating voice of Ms. Barnett. And now pack your baggage and head toward Rio...just listen to "The Coffee Song"; Yes Contessa, you are in Brazil now...Marshal Rosenberg's uplifting and magnificent percussions capture the Brazilian landscape, and that fabulous brass section bursts again stronger than the sun of the Samba and the Carnival de Rio! And to crown this magnificent CD, "Summer Wind" comes in the right place and right moment. On violin, Belinda Whitney, Martin Agee and Antoine Sillverman and on cello, Anik Ouilianine added a universe of virtuosity and enchanting beauty....In this particular song, and all of a sudden, Barnett's voice becomes the canvas for sensual beauty, earthy whispers of a "sweet femme fatale" and a happy Jazz singer. This woman is a pure magic! A phenomenon! Nobody, absolutely nobody can sing like Judy Barnett. Buy this CD. It is a treasure, a triumph. Rating: 5 stars. Judy Barnett is listed in the WORLD WHO’S WHO IN JAZZ, CABARET, MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT, Volume IV “ SHOWBIZ, PIONEERS< BEST SINGERS, MUSICIANS AND ENTERTAINERS FROM 1606 TO THE PRESENT”, published by the Federation of American Musicians, Singers and Performing Artists (FAMSPA)
Maximillian Lafayette - Jazz News
JUDY BARNETT’S “TOO DARN HOT”
MAKES TALKIN’ BROADWAY’S VOCAL
TOP TEN CD LIST FOR 2006!


JUDY BARNETT
TOO DARN HOT
Montserrat Records
Originally reviewed 12/21/06
A no-nonsense, hit the ground running, high voltage performer: that's Judy Barnett. Her fourth CD, Too Darn Hot, is energizing and just great fun. The true pleasure (and care) she takes in performing - and in the songs themselves - is obvious. She also relishes words and rhymes and is very present with the lyrics. She can definitely swing like crazy. On Too Darn Hot, she is at her best. The songs on the CD are mostly about the spring and summer, and Judy and her band definitely generate some heat. The title song from the pen of Cole Porter is just about the best, as it just builds and builds. Judy is particularly good with fast tempi and this one really flies at a fast clip. "Come Back to Me" from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever packs a punch, too, and South Pacific's "Bali Ha'i" is the surprise survivor of radical surgery, transformed to become a wild, hard-driving swinger. Judy shows her more sentimental side with a soft spot for the Nat King Cole hit, "That Sunday, That Summer." The arrangements are especially exciting: there's real teamwork with a large, brass-filled band. Never a dull moment.
http://www.talkinbroadway.com/sound/jan1107.html
Talkin' Broadway
JUDY BARNETT
TOO DARN HOT!
Montserrat Records
Judy Barnett's Too Darn Hot! makes the perfect New Year's Eve party album with its blast of high energy. Her jumping, jazzy jamboree is a rush of adrenalin and grabs a listener immediately (and doesn't let go) with a pow of a performance on the title song by Cole Porter from Kiss Me, Kate. She sets the bar mighty high with this high-flying arrangement, biting into the words and swinging it hard at a fast clip. The winner of six MAC Awards and one Bistro Award for her work sounds happy and supremely confident, very much in control of the ride - not just on this cut, but throughout this album, her fourth. Along the way, she takes two more pages from the Cole Porter songbook, with a brash "Night and Day" and the popping "It's De-Lovely" with a bit of nimble scat singing. This latter number is set up with a short visit to Rodgers & Hammerstein's gentler "It Might As Well Be Spring." She occasionally slows down for a more reflective moment, but never drains the sense of joy completely to get languid. Her ballads might be called "semi-ballads."
"Come Back to Me" from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever is a major highlight, another non-stop rush of excitement that never runs out of juice. And more surprisingly, another show tune that wouldn't normally suggest the kind of aggressive one-two punch Judy and the band do so well, South Pacific's "Bali Ha'i," survives very well. The island of mystery drifts dreamily no more; it's brought down to earth and comes up swinging. Purists may pout, skeptics may doubt, but I think the risky idea works smashingly.
I love the way Judy bites into words, just enjoying a lyric's vocabulary and even just consonant sounds - hear her rrrip into the words beginning with "r". This kind of jubilation is matched by the vibrant instrumental work, as band and singer seem to be feeding off each other's electricity. I especially love the prominent work done by guitarist Frank Vignola who really takes off. The arrangements were conceived by Judy, with the full charts by Bud Burridge who soars on trumpet and flugelhorn. Red hot pianist Ted Kooshian contributed to the invigorating and fun arrangement of "Summer in the City," the '60s pop hit. Although the anti-climactic third time around for the lyrics for the chorus may be too much of a pretty good thing, it's still a good choice done with all engines full force. There's a Barnett/Kooshian-written item, "Bummer Summer," a cheeky romp that serves as much to showcase the band as the sassy singer.
Those who will be in the New York area the week after Christmas can catch Judy in person at Smoke on Broadway near West 105th Street on December 28th. There's more about Judy at her website, but for now the CD is the pick-me-up album of the season.
www.talkinbroadway.com
Rob Lester
Sound Advice
December 21. 2006
Rob Lester - Talkin' Broadway
Album review / Time Out New York / Issue 604: April 26–May 2, 2007
Judy Barnett



Too Darn Hot! (Montserrat)

From 1985 to 1993, the Upper West Side had a cozy haven for jazz lovers: J’s, a second-story club with bare brick walls and a living-room warmth. A night there was an almost guaranteed good time, and much of the fun stemmed from “J” herself: Judy Barnett, a salt-of-the-earth jazz singer. Every few weeks she entertained with her hearty megaphone voice; in between she presented Mark Murphy, Chris Connor, guitarist Frank Vignola and countless others who loved J’s, and her. A real-estate tax hike eventually forced Barnett out, and ever since, she has been lost in the cabaret world—no place for a real jazz artist, but a refuge for a lot of fake ones. On her fourth album, Too Darn Hot!, Barnett’s no-frills, distinctively nasal delivery is the sound of truth. She swings hard, while her klieg-light diction illuminates every phrase. Like Ella Fitzgerald and Helen Humes, Barnett sings with a smile; her new CD, a salute to spring and summer, bursts with the unflappable good humor that helped her endure eight years of running a saloon. Here she treats herself to a high-powered big band arranged by trumpeter Bud Burridge; its members include Vignola and a drummer, Joe Ascione, who helps keep everything from “Bali Ha’i” to “Summer in the City” jumping. Occasionally, as in “April in Paris,” Barnett turns a bit wistful. More typically, she socks ’em out in a mood of celebration, with blue skies overhead.—James Gavin
Judy Barnett plays Smoke Jun 22 and 23.
James Gavin - Time Out Magazine

CRITICS RAVE ABOUT JUDY BARNETT!

“Judy Barnett’s warm, earthy sound & presence; her ability to swing any
song she touches; her complete lack of pretense; her worldly wisdom;
her sense of fun – all these things add up to a package of pleasure & a
reminder of why she’s been such a beloved jazz figure for so long.
This album shows us her songwriting as well as singing talents.
‘LustLossLove’ is in heavy rotation in my house!”
James Gavin, Author/Music Historian


“She has emerged as one of the most individual of jazz singers;
versatile, inventive, with the ability to swing at any tempo.”
New York Times


“She always conveys her own personal take on a song’s lyric, even while scatting and
riffing on the melody, something that even Sarah Vaughan could barely manage.”
Time Out NY Magazine


“Judy Barnett percolates like the jazz God’s coffee pot.”
New York Newsday


“The sureness and ease with which Barnett lands on notes, the confident phrasing, the
way the whole thing builds, makes you wish she recorded more often.”
New York Post


“Judy Barnett swings more than a playground set!”
New York Daily News


“Judy’s a natural swinger, the kind jazz players like to play behind.
She takes charge of a song and intuitively finds the jazz heart of it.”
Dave Frishberg


“To put it mildly, Barnett knows how to put on a show. She proves
she has everything you dream of in a masterful jazz performance.”
New York Drama-Logue


“Barnett allows her vocal talents (diction, control, range, phrasing) to
emerge slowly, like a hearty repast that reveals its succulence
as it cooks, the delicious aromas enticing the diner’s nostrils.”
CMJ/New Music Report


“To describe Barnett as a jazz singer doesn’t quite suffice…a more apt classification
would be R & J—rhythm & joy—for that’s what her shows pulsate with.”
Back Stage

(Feb 27, 2018)