Thursday, 27 October 2016

Lion Hunting at Polka Theatre and Come Together Barb Jungr and John McDaniel sing The Beatles and tour in November UK

Am just sitting with my feet up after a long month of hard days in the theatre working with the most wonderful creative team led by Director Peter Glanville at the wonderful children's theatre Polka, in Wimbledon. If you have small children anywhere in your purview take them to Polka where world class theatre is made. I wish there had been such places when I was a child, of course now thats before the wheel and fire came to my town but its such a beautiful place, the vibe is beyond compare. Its not just children, but people, friendly. If there's hope for the world its in places like this. This is what we've been doing there.....

Here are some photos of the extraordinary puppets and set, made by two wonderful people, Sam Wyer and Laure McEwen, respectively. Fabulous lighting by Will Evans and great stage management by Nick Graham. And two beautiful performers in Phil Yarrow and Clare Eales-White.

The Townspeople led by the Mayor about to get a shock in How To Hide A Liom

Iris and the Lion make friends.

Here's the Lion hiding in a bath in the show

And a great review for the show in The Guardian, here

And after my evening's rest I'm off to see someone else work tomorrow, Mike Lindup is on tour with Level 42 so Jamie Safiruddin and I head out to Watford to boogie with the best of them. I'm taking every breath I can as in 2 weeks I'm on tour with the fabulous John McDaniel doing our Beatles material which is now out on CD too. You can check it all out here

and theres info on it all here

with lots of other links for buying it on download and hard copy and streaming and all that jazz.

Here's the new Beatles CD

Today we had a wonderful review in the esteemed USA magazine, Jazz Times, whose review of Shelter From The Storm reads. "What matters is the exquisite quality of the work...its immense value heightened by three Jungr/Hobgood originals, including an astute nod to Nina Simone." Read more here.....

Jazz Times review of Shelter From The Storm
There's some lovely video of this show live at Dean Street from March this year, here -

So the tour of the Beatles material from the album and celebrating that gorgeous songwriting, goes all over the country, and some shows still have availability. We go to Berlin,

The Cinnamon Club in Bowden

and The Swan Dobcross for 2 nights

Deal's Astor Theatre

Shoreham Ropetackle

also Live at Zedel 2 shows

Faversham is sold out already.

And here's a little promo of the Beatles collection filmed where we began the collaboration, in Connecticut at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.

Happy Winter and Hope to see you at one of these!

Monday, 1 August 2016

New reviews and en route to Connecticut

Had a gorgeous review lately from AXS magazine which I want to share

and some lovely London shows including Shelter From the Storm at the fabulous 606 club in sweltering heat end of July with Davide Mantovani on double bass and the glorious Barry Green on piano.

Then packed up and set off to New York to rehearse with Tracy Stark and Lennie Watts for our upcoming Connecticut show - if you are in the vicinity of Waterford or New London on Sunday 7th August. Its going to be a lot of fun, particularly the duets!

Walking around New York in the steamy morning I got a beautiful view of the Empire State Building.....

Then to Minnesota where, although I was bitten by a thousand mosquitoes and deer flies, nothing could spoil the beauty of being at Lake Alexander with my Bentler family, brother in law and nephew.

If you haven't seen them there are some great videos on the youtube site, here's one from the recent tour.

and for the season from the new album, which by the way you can find out about here alongside all the back catalogue.

And there have been some beautiful new portraits for the website by Claudio Raschella of Adelaide- see are a couple -

There will be new autumn dates on the website up soon, but check here for the news and whats happening immediately...

and here

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Australia I love you

Since the 1st June I've been touring in Australia with shows in Brisbane, Byron Bay, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne, from where I an writing on the sofa on this rainy afternoon.

the view from my Melbourne high rise

My Melbourne high rise balcony is 32 floors up in the sky. I find heights a challenge, always have. Vertigo is a weird condition, and perhaps a lizard brain throwback. Certainly terra firma works well for me. I took a few flying lessons a few years ago to combat my fear of turbulence and heights and found myself rather enjoying the exercise. Circus professor John Paul Zaccarini and I went to a climbing wall, and that was fascinating and I managed to get much higher than I expected. So I'm pleased to say that I managed last night to walk to the edge of my balcony and look over the bar, and to make sure it wasn't a fluke I did it again this morning. That aside, the shows, 2 of them, are at Bird's Basement tonight and tomorrow in Melbourne with the astonishingly good Mark Fitzgibbon on piano.  Then its back to the UK for shows in Greenham, Maidstone and a week at Crazy Coqs with the lovely John McDaniel. I won't let too much grass grow!

Starting from the beginning Brisbane was wonderful. I worked with acclaimed Australian arranger and accompanist John Thorn (we met at Adelaide Festival 3 years ago) and played at the Brisbane Festival at a beautiful venue in an old Powerhouse called, unsurprisingly, The PowerHouse which is right on the river in a lovely location and area. I met up with my old friend the painter and performance artist Luke Roberts and on a late night walk through the city saw his extraordinary sculpture, called PoinsettiaRiverFire, in the park, lighting the sky for all to see.

3 views of Luke Robert's PoinsettiaRiverFire public sculpture and Luke and I in front of it.
There was a rainbow over Brisbane and the city was in a state of growth and change. It was a joyous show, and there was a lovely review. And then the storm came!

And that storm is coming 
The storm arrived Saturday morning and we drove our little trusty hire car through it all the way to Byron Bay with rain coming so thick and fast the wipers going on fast couldn't clear it away. By Byron it was clear that things were bad. Rivers were flooding and the wind was wild, with trees down across roads and fields filling with water all around us. The Byron Bay Theatre was warm and welcoming and fortified with their vegetarian gluten free sandwiches we did a terrific gig to the audience who were able to get there, brave souls! And the next morning dawned as though no storm had happened! With a blue sky and bright gorgeous sun, and only the broken branches strewn about gave any clue as to what had happened overnight, we walked to the Byron lighthouse in the warm sunshine and handsome surfers rode the huge waves that formed in that idyllic bay. Byron Bay gets my vote for paradise on earth. It is absolutely beautiful. It was wonderful to be back there and I very much hope I can play there again, soon. Here are a bunch of views from the walk.

Byron Bay from the walk to the lighthouse.
Then it was off to Sydney. Played at The Basement there, rehearsing with Mark Fitzgibbon first. He's a jazz player of the great skill and talent, and well known in Australia. We had a terrific first show and I managed an 8 mile walk around the city spotting some beautiful birds in the harbour. Here are some....

Birds on the walk and some plaques commemorating terrific Australian authors.

From Sydney we hurtled to Canberra, which was gloomy and surpassingly cold, But it was lovely to be back at The Street Theatre there, and a great crowd and a lovely review (thank you Bill). And a rainbow over the airport as we left!

Rainbow over Canberra

And then to Adelaide. The festival was cracking in as we arrived and I was straight into a Gala rehearsal with Mark Ferguson and the band. Ben and Alana on drums and bass and a cracking version of Things Have Changed sprang into being. Friday, Gala rehearsal day, was blustery but we were inside rehearsing and I had the best makeup lady so we were ready for action. She took this before the show in the corridor.

Thank you Deanna for the superb makeup, Gala opening night, Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2016
The Gala was a wonderful opportunity to meet some other performers, Robyn Archer, Amy G, Andrew Strano, Hugh Parhem, Eddie Perfect, Ali McGregor, Mothers Ruin, Astrid and Die Roten Punkte and more and of course Miss Behave from London was there with Harriet who can dance up a storm so we were a motley crew. It was a joy to be in such a supportive and terrific collection of people. The red carpet walk was a scream and Markus Hamence did a lovely interview for Scene TV on it all, the next day, which is here.

Sunday and Monday I had my shows with Mark,we had a wonderful crew and team so sound and lights were superb, they were total sellouts which was beautiful, with great audiences, and there were some lovely reviews.

and there was a lot of fun with the backstage gals and Peta at the late night club  hosted by Miss Behave and Amy G. Check the eyelashes!

And every morning I managed to get a long walk along the Torrens River and check out some fantastic birds who came out to say "hello"

sunshine morning outside the Festival Centre

The Festival Centre is getting a facelift!

On Monday we did a revue of Kurt Weill songs. Zac Taylor put together a wonderful collection with legendary Brecht and Weimar performer Robyn Archer singing and MC ing.  Eddie Perfect and Ali McGregor, Hugh Parhem and Die Roten Punkte and I sang, and there was a stunning band with arrangements by John Thorn. It was a privilege to be part of that show in the lovely Dunstan playhouse.

And then we were off, and here we are, were this blog began, in Melbourne. I'm off to put on my makeup and get my glad rags and harmonica together and head down to sound check. I hope I'll see you at a show here tonight or tomorrow, and facing that, there are these coming up in the UK, with John McDaniel on the piano and other microphone!

Friday 24th June - 

Saturday 25th June -

and from tuesday June 28th through saturday June 3rd

See you there! Till then, have a great rest of the week. 

Monday, 30 May 2016

A few nice things from New York.....

The 4 night May run at Joe's Pub to launch the new CD Shelter From the Storm were terrific. We had Laurence of course, on piano, Matt Clohesy on bass and Wilson Torres on percussion, and they blew it out of the water. So many friends and fans came down, and some people who's seen The Kate TV show, which has been airing all over the US. You can stream that if you haven't seen it yet, here

I stayed in the East Village with my great friends Jane and Luka, and laughed a lot. Ate at Shanghai Joe's soup dumplings, cycled along the East River and generally had a fab time. I sang at Jim Gavin's celebration and caught up with a ton of old friends and rehearsed for the Connecticut show where Lennie Watts - my co-master teacher, and I are sharing a stage on the Sunday night in August with Tracy Stark on the keys, and hung out with lots of terrific performer friends, and saw Kiki and Herb on my last night give one of their incredible shows. All in all, had a blast.

So here's the cast photo from the Jim Gavin celebration.

With Molly Pop, Carol Lipnik, Tammy Faye, Baby Jane Dexter, Jim Gavin, Christine Andreas, Gaye Marshall, Bernie and Joanna, and Penny Arcade.

Brian Pace came down to Joe's and made a film and interview there, which is here - we talked about singing, and jazz, cabaret and Dylan, Brel and the terrific arrangers working with me, from Laurence Hobgood, through Simon Wallace, Jenny Carr and Adrian York. 

There were some nice photographs too.

With my wonderful friend, Dr Thelma Reyes
 There was a terrific review in the New York Times, here

at Joe's Pub, photo taken by Jane on the first night.

With Brian Pace after the last night's show at Joe's

In mid sing at Joe's photo by Brian Pace.
And then it was back home for a week and a trip up north where I managed to catch the last of the bluebells in Lyme Park, with Mum and Mirek.

Mum and Mirek in the Lyme Park bluebell woods late May 2016.

Mum and I photo by Mirek enjoying the last of the bluebells.

And now another run of dates begins. This time inn Australia, where I'll be - as well as the dates on this poster, in Canberra and at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Some press her come out already and its all here - hope to see you at a show somewhere, soon.

The Byron Echo - here

The Brisbane Times, here -

The Byron interview, here

Arts Review, here -

The Canberra Times, here

And here's the tour except for Canberra and Adelaide for which please go to their sites, here -

Till then, enjoy spring and summer, which is coming - unless you are in Australia, where its autumn!