Barb Jungr and John McDaniel

Float like a Butterfly - The Sting Project

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Last Show: Saturday 17 th February 2018

The Pheasantry (Chelsea)

In news which might disturb aficionados of the passage of time, Sting has been writing and performing songs for 40 years, and has won 16 Grammys in the process. The remarkable body of work he has created over that period has encompassed and intermingled an unexpectedly diverse collection of genres, styles and influences. Included amongst these from the very start is jazz, which has formed an integral part of Sting’s musical life since he was Gordon Sumner from Wallsend. More recently, his musical explorations have taken him to Broadway. This was all the encouragement that Barb and John needed to bring their combined prowess in jazz, musical theatre and cabaret to bear on his work. For the time being, they’ve chosen to forget about his expertise in Elizabethan art song. In this brand new show, Barb and John apply their skills for reinvention to Sting’s staggeringly hit-laden songbook. In John’s transformative new arrangements for voice and piano, developed closely with Barb, they perform work from Sting’s time as both a member of The Police and a solo artist, during which he has combined huge commercial success with continual risk-taking and experimentation. On top of that, Barb will offer a fascinating elucidation on the pros and (mainly) cons of having sex in a wheat field.

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Barb Jungr: “one of the world's great cabaret singers” (Time Out New York)

John McDaniel: “as nonpareil as they come” (Huffington Post)

An album of songs from Float Like a Butterfly will be released worldwide in May 2018, on Kristalyn.

What you might know is that singer, performer and recording artist Barb Jungr is ”mesmerising” (New York Times), ”casually virtuosic” (Guardian), an ”alchemist among jazz singers” (Telegraph), possessing a voice which is “shockingly expressive, with an astonishing palette of colours” (Observer). Across her 40 year career she has been internationally acclaimed for combining immaculate vocal technique, impassioned performance, piercing insight and beautifully unexpected musical arrangements to reinterpret European and American popular songs in a manner which The New York Timesdescribed as ”revelatory”.

What you might not know is that as a live performer, Barb Jungr is always funny, and often hilarious. Like, intentionally. Cabaret Scenes described a performance in November 2016 as “the funniest hour of cabaret I’ve ever seen” from a “world-class raconteur”. Originally emerging from the alternative cabaret scene of the 1970s and 80s, and cutting her teeth alongside the likes of Julian Clary, Alexei Sayle and Arnold Brown, her ability to deliver shows which are utterly alive, and spontaneously respond to the world in and outside the performance space, is second to none.

If you are only familiar with Barb’s work from her albums, you simply have to see her perform live. Even the highest quality mp3 in the world won’t tell you what it’s like to be in a room with her and her musicians.
>> It’s good fun to show off by yourself, hoovering up all the audience validation to take back to your lonely hotel room after the gig. But every once in a while, attention-seekers need a bit of company, and concede to share the spotlight. Barb is no exception. Over the past couple of years she has combined her solo work with performances as one half of a double act, for the first time since her legendary collaboration with Michael Parker in the 1980s. Teaming up with the horribly gifted John McDaniel, they have worked together to create a couple of very special shows.

When paired with Barb, John is a pianist, singer, arranger and partner in banter. He doesn’t even need to bother employing his vast experience as a conductor, a composer and a Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning producer of theatre, albums and television. After a childhood spent putting on shows in the basement of his home in St. Louis, Missouri, his only option was to metamorphose into Mr. Showbusiness. And so it came to pass that he has worked on Broadway as a conductor, musical director, and musical / vocal arranger. He has accompanied stars including Betty Buckley, Tyne Daly, Brooke Shields and Patti LuPone, whose 1995 one-woman show he arranged and conducted. He also spent seven years in living rooms across America as the Musical Director and bandleader on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Barb has contractually forbidden him from mentioning any of those performers to her, either onstage, in the dressing room or on the night bus home.

In their shows together, Barb and John collide British cabaret nous with American musical theatre chutzpah and two phenomenal songbooks, to generate an embarrassment of talent and expertise. These are unique events, so be sure to catch them now. They’re both busy people living on either side of the Atlantic, and really can’t be expected to wait around for you to pull your finger out and get a babysitter sorted.