|Barb Jungr. Photo credit: Habie Schwartz|
Barb Jungr/ Simon Wallace
(Crazy Coqs. 5th September 2013. Third night of five. Review by Sebastian Scotney)
DIPTYCH. In large capital letters. That’s what I’d written down during Barb Jungr‘s performance of Kris Kristofferson’s Help Me Make It Through The Night, segue-ing straight into Will You Love Me Tomorow (The Shirelles/ Carole King). After I’d written it, I started to imagine Barb Jungr savouring that word, squeezing every drop of meaning out of it, as in: “Have you ever met such a complete diptych in your whole life?”
I digress. There was a good reason why I wrote down that word: the care, the craft and the control which Jungr and pianist Simon Wallace put into these songs is breath-taking. Here they had spot-welded the two songs together and forged a delicate balance between them. Jungr imagines them as, perhaps, two perspectives on the same moment of bliss a.k.a one-night stand, and the songs do indeed intertwine and become one. Wallace’s voicings throughout the paired songs were subtle and allusive, quite something on a not particularly forgiving piano. Jungr was testing the half-lights of imagined and un-uttered words. It was remarkable.
These, then, are the two sides to the Jungr/Wallace performance. On the one hand, the immense art and experience they bring; on the other, the connection Jungr has with an audience, which makes you start to believe she must know what you’re thinking.
Elsewhere we heard her throwing the full works – tone, vocal power, and even an Ute Lemper 45 degree gym-rat body stretch – to the end of Red Red Wine. In The Beatles’ The Night Before, she gave every single phrase a wonderful post-ironic, post-structuralist twinkle.
This was definitely up there among the most satisfying evenings I have now spent at Crazy Coqs. Perhaps – as they flattered us – we were a particularly good audience tonight, because everything seemed to work, and get a reaction, but there is no doubting that Jungr and Wallace know precisely what works in this unique space. Never say never, but they might just be the ideal act for this very special music room.