May 23, 2005
To: Listings/Critics/Features From: JAZZ PROMO SERVICES Press Contact: JIM EIGO, firstname.lastname@example.org
CD Release Event Thursday, June 2, 8 PM The Point 880 W. Lancaster Avenue Bryn Mawr, PA 19010 www.atthepoint.com/
Celebrating The Release Of Her New CD TRINITY featuring Barbara Montgomery, vocals Aaron Graves, piano, Lee Smith, bass, Dan Monaghan, drums, Monette Sudler, guitar
Barbara Montgomery is a special sort of jazz singer—her unassuming musical intelligence, her emotional honesty, her refined taste in songs, are amply displayed on her latest CD, TRINITY."
Frank Hadley, Jazz Critic, Down Beat, Jazziz
Jazz singer Barbara Montgomery has gained a solid reputation as a sultry songstress, once described by a reporter as an ice cream blond with a black coffee jazz voice." Yes, her voice is alluring, and her sound sensuous. But to label her only a jazz singer is a misnomer, for her music stretches across musical boundaries into the realm of humanity. With her fifth release, entitled Trinity (2005, bjazz.com records, a division of Mr. Bean & Bumpy Music, Inc.), Montgomery takes us on a journey into the felicity and pathos that comprises the human condition. The project was co-produced by Montgomery with her partner, distinguished jazz pianist Aaron Graves; Graves arranged all the tracks, and five of the songs were written by the duo. As its name implies, Trinity is a spiritual compilation which evokes a range of human emotions – grief and sadness, longing and desire, resilience and belief. Montgomery and Graves are joined on the CD by some of today's most gifted musicians, including saxophonist Joe Ford, guitarist Monette Sudler, bassists Lee Smith and Mike Boone, drummer Wilby Fletcher, percussionist Doc Gibbs, and trumpeter John Swana. The result is a poignant, jubilant and thoughtful recording that reinforces the continuity and commonality that exists among us all.
Trinity consists of twelve tracks that are a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit in the midst of darkness. Trinity begins with Alexandra Leaving, a tribute to a young girl whose life was ruthlessly cut down in an act of brutal, cowardly violence. Setting the tone for the album, the track is mournful, opening with the sound of doleful bells tolling, then soaring to the height of hopefulness, the lyrics contemplative, the melody sweet, and Montgomery's voice full of redemption. The next track, Little One, is a soulful tune that pays homage to the indelible spirit of freedom fighter Harriet Tubman. It is a healing song," Montgomery states, hearkening back to a beauty in all of us when we were children."
A cover of Stevie Wonder's If It's Magic was, Montgomery says, an interesting choice for the CD." Arranged with a winsome, simplistic groove, Montgomery is joined by a straightforward trio of piano, drums, and horn. April 14 was written in honor of the 50th wedding anniversary of Montgomery's mom and dad. It brings forth mental images of a married couple relaxing in their easy chairs and in their supreme knowledge of each other's beings and hearts. The chanteuse wonders aloud – will she ever find such an endearing love, the other half of the pair"?
Montgomery's smoky voice is sexy and resplendent in the French-language ode to lost love, Avec Le Temps, written by songwriter/poet Leo Ferre. Graves' piano serves as a hard, driving force, intensifying Montgomery's lush interpretation. Similarly, Graves' arrangement of Leonard Cohen's 1,000 Kisses Deep is reminiscent of modern French music, with a hint of Latin influence provided by Marlon Simon's congas and the electric guitar of Ron Jennings. The track subtlety modulates higher and lower, as Montgomery reflects the twin emotions of hopelessness and despair. Danny O'Keefe's Junkman (from his 1973 Breezy Stories album) is performed in a blues-funk style, giving a hip feeling to a song about a predatory drug dealer, highlighted by Sudler's urgent, raw, earthy electric guitar.
On the quiet and reflective She Speaks, Montgomery gives the listener a revealing peek into the psyche of women, and the silence that is so often imposed upon them both by the outside world and themselves. Her silence speaks through the centuries with a phantom cry," the lyrics say, loudly stating what so many women inherently know.
To Montgomery, Between is somewhat biographical. I literally lived this at one point in my life," Montgomery says, and sometimes still do." It is a reminder to stay and hold the present," and revel in stillness and the joy of stillness. Van Morrison's Crazy Love, is Montgomery's dedication to Graves. Though the two had been professionally involved for years, about a year ago, they began to see each other differently. Their collaboration, on a musical and a spiritual level, has inspired Montgomery in new and exciting ways.
Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne's I Fall In Love Too Easily, is the one traditional jazz standard" on Trinity, done as a respectful tribute to the elders of the music. It is a soulful, respectful rendition, with Montgomery's voice deep and cavernous. The final track, Trinity, ties it all together. Up-tempo and fusion-flavored, its profound lyrics question the listener What is your trinity?" What do you stand for? What drives you? What are your values? What is the reason for your existence? The question, if taken seriously, can be very uncomfortable. And yet, without it, what is the meaning of life?
Born in California, Barbara Montgomery's childhood mirrored that of an army brat"; her father was an engineer whose work had the family traveling around the world. She spent her formative years in Vietnam witnessing man's inhumanity to man. She has been deep-rooted in the music industry for over thirty years, wearing many hats. Just as important is her role as mother to son Michael and daughter Remy – the very Mr. Bean and Bumpy" she named her company after. No longer making music just to produce great records, Montgomery's work on Trinity reflects her love of humanity and its frailties. Trinity is her gift to the world, a gift full of hope and grace in the face of life's cruelties. In addition to her music, Montgomery is also a strong gun violence prevention advocate who uses her voice and gift to spread the philosophy of non-violence.
A portion of the sales of each CD will be donated to the Million Mom March United with the Brady Foundation to Prevent Gun Violence. (www.millionmommarch.org)
TRINITY, available now at www.bjazz.com a beautiful recording…I'm honored to be in such a fine company of songwriters…" --Danny O’Keefe
Other releases by Barbara Montgomery: Little Sunflower (2003) Blue Ribbon Award, Best Jazz vocals category, IAJE Dakini Land (Tribute to Chick Corea) Ask Me Now Barbara Montgomery
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