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Paulanne Simmons

Barb Jungr Come Back to 59E59 Theaters


Barb Jungr

"Barb Jungr" at the E: Café
59E59 Theaters
59 East 59th Street between Madison and Park
Dec. 5 thru Dec. 8
Tues.-Thurs. 8:30 p.m., Fri. 7:30 p.m.
$25, (212) 279-4200 or www.ticketcentral.com
Preview by Paulanne Simmons

Following the success of Lord Buckley in the Zam Zam Room last year when Theater C was transformed into an intimate cabaret, 59E59 Theaters is turning Theater C into the E: Café through the month of December.

British songstress Barb Jungr, last seen at 59E59 Theaters this past summer in the Brits Off-Broadway festival, will kick off the series on Dec. 5 with a selection of songs she calls "inspired" from all five of her Linn CDs.

Jungr has performed at Joe's Pub, Mama Rose's (when it was in existence), and at the Broadway Unplugged concert recently in November. In 2002, her three-week run at The Flea Theatre earned her the cabaret award from Backstage for best international artist. She is looking forward to appearing once again in New York City, where "audiences open their arms to performers…and have an open heart to whatever is on stage" and has chosen an especially uplifting repertoire to suit the holiday season.

"I have selected songs that, either through passion, or philosophy, or love, or peace, are inspiring, because it is coming to Christmas time and whatever our beliefs, it is a good space to look forwards in, to better times and a New Year and fresh starts," she says.

Her song list includes "some Brel, some Dylan, some of mine ["The Space In Between" from "Chanson: The Space In Between" and "Beautiful Life" from her new album, "Walking in the Sun"], some Richard Thompson, Ray Davies, some gospel and some blues."

Although Jungr has recorded songs either written by or closely associated with Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley, her long list of favorite American performers includes Marvyn Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Patti Labelle, Eric Bibb, Odetta, Bob Dylan, Paul Robeson, Etta James, Rory Block, Rance Allen, Mahalia Jackson, Shirley Caesar and Aaron Neville.

"You'll notice my great love is African American soul, rhythm and blues, gospel, and jazz," she says. "And my two great, great loves are Nina Simone and Dinah Washington. But she adds, "I could list for hours."

Jungr, who says she started singing as a young girl and "used to make the front steps into a stage and give concerts to the passers-by," trained at various times with "an opera singer, a mad woman from Australia who had been a child prodigy and had, as we say here, a screw loose, but really gave me some good knowledge, and a man called Paul Newham, who found other ways of accessing timbre."

She also says she learned from listening to the greats "I have been lucky enough to see, and watching and hearing every other person I am ever on stage with." One of those people happens to be Charlie Giordano, "a fabulous musician" who will accompany her on piano and accordion at 59E59 Theaters.

Anyone who has ever heard Jungr, however, knows the important role improvisation plays in her performance, whatever she is singing, in whatever genre. As a result, her electrifying interpretation is always highly personal and passionate.


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