Reviews

Float Like a Butterfly *****

Float Like a Butterfly – The Sting Project
By: Paulanne Simmons

After giving the likes of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen the Barb Jungr treatment, the amazing chanteuse has turned her attention to Sting. The fruit of this labor is the world premiere of Float Like a Butterfly – The Sting Project, which reunites Jungr with composer and arranger John McDaniel (Beatles show and CD Come Together) in a four-day gig at Joe’s Pub this June.

Barb Jungr, John McDaniel

Float Like a Butterfly – The Sting Project
By: Paulanne Simmons

After giving the likes of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen the Barb Jungr treatment, the amazing chanteuse has turned her attention to Sting. The fruit of this labor is the world premiere of Float Like a Butterfly – The Sting Project, which reunites Jungr with composer and arranger John McDaniel (Beatles show and CD Come Together) in a four-day gig at Joe’s Pub this June.

For those too young to remember, “Float Like a Butterfly” is half of a Muhammad Ali quote, uttered just before the prizefighter, then 22 years old and still known as Cassius Clay, entered the ring to fight world heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. The other half of the quote is “Sting Like a Bee.”

Happily, singing the Sting repertoire, from the politics of “Russians” to the heartbreak of “Roxanne,” gives Jungr the opportunity to display the huge breath of her emotional and vocal capabilities.

Combining Jungr and Sting will quite naturally create a show focussing on “the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to,” to quote another Bard. But it’s hard to imagine anyone but Jungr giving lines such as “You don’t have to give your body to the night” the same gut-wrenching tenderness.

Although one can be easily dazzled by those vocal cords that caress the musical chords, a magnificent voice is only part of the magic that is Barb Jungr. Another, equally important part of that magic is her unique ability to make all those who have the pleasure of watching her into a friend and confident. For instance…

Barb on sex in a wheat field: “The most unsuccessful sexual liaison I’ve ever had, and believe me, I’ve had plenty.”

Barb on immortality: “It might be boring. Who could be your partner for life?”

All this while she’s painting gorgeous pictures with a truly inspired selection of songs.

From the somewhat menacing pulse of “Every Breath You Take” to the gently lyrical “Fields of Gold,” McDaniel is totally in tune with Jungr’s way of interpreting and communicating the meaning of a song. Whatever new and surprising direction this collaboration takes, it certainly seems to be a match made in musical heaven.

Float Like a Butterfly – The Sting Project *****
June 22, 23, 27 and June 29, 2017 @ Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, NYC
www.publictheater.org/Joes-Pub-at-The-Public.

Barb Jungr