Jazz Vocalist

 

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"Vocalist Barbara Knight graced the "Uniquely Cleveland" program delivered by the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra last month with panache, pomp and circumstance. The jazz singer regularly delivers for the CJO (and in her own shows) with a warm, silky and inviting vocal delivery that has earned high praise by critics and fans alike. Her 14-tune set of "all-time favorites" called Angel Eyes might be a couple years old now, but it may have the most clarity of purpose for any local jazz vocal release to date.

Accompanied by an all-star cast that includes Russell Schmidt (piano), Jack Schantz (flugelhorn), Dave Morgan (bass), Jim Rupp (drums), and guests Howie Smith (saxophones) and Ron Busch (vibraphone), Knight's loving, mid-range voice radiates passion and exudes the glow usually reserved for the orange embers of a late autumn fire. From the uptempo rendition of "You Go To My Head" (which spotlights solo pizzazz by Schantz) to unique renditions of "Old Devil Moon," "Spring Is Here" and the Johnny Mercer/ Hoagy Carmichael dream "Skylark," there's something to fit every mood. Knight's disc has it all: tight arrangements, a brilliant jazz songbook set list, session musician pedigree and a sweet, alluring (if not caramely) voice that begs for repeated spins.

Knight is a dream come true for jazz vocal aficionados and accessible enough to please first-timers as well. Either way, she'll win you over in no time."

"Having not heard Barbara Knight before, I was very surprised by her creativity, maturity, warm voice and excellent improvising skills.  Based in Cleveland where she sings with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and is often known as a big band singer, on Angel Eyes she is joined by her quintet. Along the way Ms. Knight takes a duet with each of her sidemen including drummer Jim Rupp ("Secret Love"), pianist Russell Schmidt ("A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square"), bassist Dave Morgan ("Lullaby Of Birdland") and flugelhornist Jack Schantz ("Skylark"). Vibraphonist Ron Busch and Howie Smith (on alto and soprano) also make appearances.  Dave Morgan and the singer are responsible for the colorful arrangements.  Such songs as "You Go To My Head," "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "Old Devil Moon" are given fresh treatments full of subtle surprises, making this CD a perfect introduction to Barbara Knight, a singer who takes chances and has the technique and abilities to constantly succeed.”

“Barbara Knight totally captivated the rapt crowd with her smart but confident voice, imaginative phrasing and appealing stage presence. Her material came in the form of the American song bag, some of it arranged by Knight herself--like “Sentimental Journey”, in which her sinuous, sensuous phrasing perfectly fit the song's sentiment.”

“To say that Barbara is talented is a gross understatement. Actually, she was terrific, both as a solo voice as well as blending with the group to create the “ensemble” sound. Tune after tune, they played flawlessly and left the audience spellbound. Every note was finely polished to perfection and presented to a hungry crowd, ready to devour this very organized and refreshingly new sound…the sound of Barbara Knight and her great new band.”

“Barbara Knight's jazz style beautifully combines power and poise. She's a singer's singer, swinging on "Perdido," seductive on "Like a Lover," mysterious on her namecheck tune, "Night and Day," welcoming on "Just in Time." Both queenly and friendly, Knight is particularly comfortable with standards. But she's not afraid to be modern, either. "Night and Day," her CD with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, effectively demonstrates how well Knight and her favorite backup work together. This lush album is a honey, proving how persuasive mainstream jazz can be. Credit Barbara Knight for making the reminder so resonant.”

"Barbara Knight's "Night And Day" is a refreshing change of pace. Knight shows us her love of the songs she sings, by actually just singing them. No self indulgent, vocal exercises on this session. Just Barbara's warm, crystal clear voice bringing life to a collection of very hip charts. What a delight!”