By: Edward Blanco
Southern California award-winning jazz vocalist Cris Barber has released her fourth album with “This Moment To Be Free” and it’s another winner of a recording. Often compared to Diana Krall, Barber uses her warm smooth vocals to interpret a terrific selection of pop and jazz standards like Victor Young’s “My Foolish Heart,” Cole Porter’s “Love For Sale,” and Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird” to name a few. All together the CD boasts fourteen tunes where the lady swings and voices love ballads to the heart.
What makes this album a success is not only Barber’s vocal talents but her phenomenal backup. Assisting the Singer here is a core quintet comprised of first-call Los Angeles studio and concert players among them, Karen Hammack (piano), Barry Cogert (bass), Aldo Bentivegna (drums), Kurt Rasmussen (percussions), Jamie Findlay (guitar) and Greg Vail (sax and flute). Also appearing as special guest is guitarist Laurie Morvan performing on her original, “Family Line,” and Mark Barnes playing the Hammond B3 on “Family Line” and “What Is It.”
Eden Ahbez’s classic standard “Nature Boy” is given one heck of an overhaul here as Barber voices the lyrics to a splendid Latin jazz rendition for one of the finer tunes on the disc. The lady and the band swing on the jazz staple “Devil May Care” with superb piano chops from Hammack. This tune is followed up by another sizzler in “What A Little Moonlight Can Do” where saxophonist Vail scorches one behind the singer’s lead.
Barber shows a bit of her tender side on Duke Ellington’s “I Got It Bad,” and the love tune “Be Sure,” then turns a bit funky on the pop finale of “Sunny” completing one fine session of wonderful light hearted contemporary jazz with a twist. “This Moment To Be Free” is one of the finer jazz vocals recordings you’ll find this year and Cris Barber’s splendid performance is one reason why.
Label: 37 Records
Artist Web: www.crisbarbermusic.com
Refreshing new voice... Cris Barber - "One of the best voices of our time, Cris Barber fuses fresh and vibrant vocals with the elegance of the greatest of the great ladies of jazz. The band's blend is sublime, demonstrating the art of musical conversation which in jazz is delicious to the ear, ecstatic on the spirit and smooth on the soul. Barber's voice is effortless - lazy but clear, textured but refined, sure and sensual. If you haven't heard her yet, get her now."
-- Andrea Jonker-Bryce, reviewer, South Africa
"For an artist to come full circle in range with rhythmic vocals along with flawless precision in a single cut is special. Thus describes the craft of Cris Barber as for the third time this artist has released a smooth and genuinely exquisite production titled Comes Love. Feminine is the performance, her tones rich and expressions that carry a true cool mystique. Ms. Barber's feedback after the curtain has drawn on this project should bring numerous cries of encore!"
-- Karl Stober, international columnist, JazzReview.com
"Cris Barber is an impressive vocalist with a fantastic band. ...great repartee with the audience, as she smoothly moved from straight-ahead jazz to standards to the blues and back again. Barber has the vocal range to master it all. She could be in a position to compete with Diana Krall and Norah Jones."
-- Music Connection Magazine
"Unlike many of the trendy jazz singers now flooding the market, Cris Barber is a real jazz vocalist - singing in tune with good rhythm and genuine jazz feeling."
-- Tony Augarde, BBC International
"Not too many female artists can put themself out on a limb to be different, this is a REAL CREDIT. Listened to your new CD once, twice, and... many more times. GORGEOUS!"
-- Parko Parkinson, Radio QBN FM 96.7
"Cris, you never fail to blow me away. This album (This Moment To Be Free) is just beautiful. Thank you so much for this fantastic work."
-- Helen Jarroe, Radio Cairns FM 89.1, Australia
"Cris Barber's performance on 'This Moment To Be Free' has soul in her voice with Jazz in mind. This Moment To Be Free has 14 songs mixed with some oldies and amounts to a little for everyone who appreciates FINE JAZZ. Yes, I am pleased to add any of Cris' songs to our programming."
-- Raymond Phillips, Radio OKR 97.1 FM
"...enjoyable, fun, intimate jazz entertainment." -- jazzreview.com
"In my opinion you have the 'IT' factor within your music and it is a pleasure to feature you in my programs."
-- Michael Criddle, radio personality, Australia
"It does not take long to realize that here comes class and that distinguishes you...."
-- Ilan Oz, Radio Brussels
"She's one of the leading ladies of jazz. Fantastic voice and great musicians."
-- Alex Pijnen, BRTO Radio, Netherlands