Feb 17, 2014
A lot of CDs cross my desk, and an unusually large number of female vocalists. While some stand out, most are fairly generic treatments of the Great American Songbook. Enjoyable, but not really worth repeated listening.
And then I heard Cheryl Barnes.
For several decades, Cheryl’s versatility has encompassed many musical genres. Singing in four different languages, Cheryl has performed around the world (including shows with Wynton Marsalis, J.J. Johnson, Quincy Jones and a guest member spot with the Clara Ward Gospel Singers), and has recorded with the likes of Azar Lawrence, Billy Mitchell and Cathy Segal-Garcia. Her sixteen years of Operatic training have brought her to the stage as a featured soloist with the Denver Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra and The Lawrence University Orchestra in Wisconsin, and she has toured extensively throughout South America, nurturing her love for Samba, Bossa Nova, Salsa and the riches of Latin and Afro-Cuban Music.
After all that singing, it might come as a surprise that Listen to This is her recording debut. Backed by a strong band featuring Brandon Fields on sax, John Hammond on piano, and Rickey Minor on bass, she has chosen songs that could serve as a series of musical souvenirs from the many places her career has taken her. . From original jazz tunes like “Afternoon in Harlem”; to reinterpretations of pop tunes by Joni Mitchell (“Come in From the Cold”); to gospel-influenced and classical material (“When I Am Laid in Earth”) there is no shortage of great material. Add in orchestration by John Beasley and this is a wonderful listen
Podcast 411 is my conversation with Cheryl about the making of the CD, her choice of songs, and how she sings such a wide variety of styles. Musical selections include her cpver of Joni Mitchell's "Come in from the Cold"; "Afternoon in Harlem" and "Listen to This".