Barber, Jill - Chances

Format: CD
Label: Outside Music 23339-9042-2
Year: 2008
Origin: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Genre: vocal jazz
Value of Original Title: 
Make Inquiry/purchase: email ryder@robertwilliston.com
Release Type: Albums
Websites:  No
Playlist: Nova Scotia, Jazz, 2000's


Track Name
Be My Man
Old Flame
Oh My My
Take It Off Your Mind
Wishing Well
Never Quit Loving You
All My Dreams
Leaving You
One More Time





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What motivated former Halifax-based roots music champ Jill Barber to make such a radical shift – from intimate acoustically resonant ruminations to post-World War II-era American big band arrangements, lushly orchestrated à la Nelson Riddle circa 1952 by producer/guitarist Les Cooper, and original songs that evoke the romantic pop excesses of Doris Day and Peggy Lee – is anyone's guess. Chances is too good to be post-modern irony or a self-indulgent exercise in pure kitsch.

These are great songs, earnestly arranged and deftly executed, adorned with warm and fuzzy violins, period pizzicato punctuation, crystalline piano glissandos, jazzy hot-club fiddle, clarinet and guitar interplay and infectious swing-time rhythms. And Barber's voice, augmented occasionally with Andrews Sisters harmonies, is in exceptional form. In its encompassing scope – eerily prescient jazz elements ("One More Time," "Take It Off Your Mind") and resonant folk-blues inflections ("Oh My My," "Wishing Well") take the saccharine edge of the more cloying revisionist efforts (the title track, "All My Dreams") – Chances is a genuine curiosity, a musically engaging retro-tribute made up of completely contemporary parts. Where it's going to take Barber's career, however, is anyone's guess. Top Track: "Be My Man," for its promise "to be good," and the wonderful, Lombardo-ish horn and string accompaniment.
-Greg Quill


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