Monday, June 24, 2013

Barbara Burkle Band Look For The Silver Linging NeuKlang 2013

In that tightly clustered pack of the more pop oriented female vocalists masquerading as jazz singers comes Barbara Burkle, pristine vocals that embrace rhythmic nuances and sophisticated jazz harmonies to allow us to remember what a true vocal artist is all about.

Bauer Studios and the NeuKlang label from Germany have hit pay dirt with the latest effort from the Barbara Burkle Band, Look For The Silver Lining. An eclectic cool vibe of traditional jazz with a perpetual swing and a decidedly joyous presentation that should win over audiences world wide. For those unfamiliar with Burkle, she was a semi finalist in the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition in 2009. Moving closer to home Burkle took fourth in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in Washington D.C. back in 2010. What makes Look For The Silver Lining work so well would be the immediate group dynamic that leaps from the shiny silver disc straight to your soul. A great many singers front an ensemble that is little more than an after thought but here we find A list talent that is allowed the freedom to make their own complementary artistic statement in relationship to the pristine vocals of Burkle. A former editor would often caution the use of artistic comparisons with the rational that some readers may not be familiar with the artists used to draw similarities or differences from. Unless one is a vocalist and given the anemic state of jazz radio and education here in the United States, a fair comparison for Burkle would be that her talents would hold up well against such American fixtures as Jane Monheit and Gretchen Parlato.

The tune selection here is incredibly delicious, simplicity of melody combined with the vocal complexity of odd meter and shifting harmonics which allows for an accessible complexity to the work presented. Diversity in genre and corresponding rhythm keeps the listener on their toes and makes for an incredibly entertaining presentation. Burkle does include three original compositions which are placed perfectly among the Thelonious Monk / Jon Hendricks tune "In Walked Bud" and the classic Clifford Brown number "Joy Spring." An amazing feat of lyrical skill is the inclusion of the Billy Joel composition "I Go To Extremes" which works out remarkably well considering some of the more eclectic tunes included from Cole Porter and Jerome Kern / Buddy De Sylva.

Burkle fronts a formidable quintet that bangs out some of the finest vocal jazz floating in cyber space today. A can't miss for vocal fans and straight ahead aficionados of all tastes.

Tracks: Look For The Silver Lining; In Walked Bud; Where Would I Be Without You; I Go To Extremes; Cuando Vuelva  A Tu Lado; Home Is Where You Are; I Concentrate On You; Through Thick And Thin; Joy Spring; You And The Night And The Music; Songbird.

Personnel: Barbara Burkle: vocals, whistling, glockenspiel; Alexander "Sandy" Kuhn: saxophone; Gee Hye Lee: piano; Jens Loh: bass; Daniel Mudrack: drums.