Where Butterflies Play

Swing Ballads, Blues & Bossa Nova
February 11, 2019
Nine Decades of Jazz
February 11, 2019

Colorado-based Barbara Paris is another singer with a strong, high voice but more natural rhythmic sense that lends itself to jazz. She works with three different settings here. Backed by Joe Bonner’s elaborate piano she shows a little girl wistfulness on ballads and gets as winsome as Lee Wiley on the nostalgic blues mood of “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans”.  With Mitchell Long she sounds more forceful and cool, a perfect sound for the two Jobim bossa nova’s they do. Finally, in a small group led by pianist Ellyn Rucker, she comes on rhythmically harder and really swinging supported by Rucker’s boppish piano and Richie Chiaraluce’s quietly burning sax.  Paris is obviously a very eclectic singer.

Jerome Wilson~Cadence

On Barbara Paris’ previous CD Where Butterflies Play (9/93),p.36) she worked with three different set of musicians. This time she settles down with on combo led by two veterans of the earlier session, Joe Bonner and Richie Chiaraluce.  Paris has a melodic, swinging voice that still shows its youth, just right for the starry eyed moods she tries to convey on most of the CD.  The blues sass of “He May Be Your Man” and the comical jadedness of “Everything Happens To Me” is still a little beyond her but her sunny sound is great on “April In Paris”, “Exactly Like You” and “September In The Rain”, Bonner’s muscular but elaborate piano and Chiaraluce’s cool tenor and flute giving her ample support.  All five participants seem to listen and play off of each other, making this sound like a really intimate small group session, not just a singer with anonymous backing, Paris is constantly improving as a singer.

Jerome Wilson~Cadence

“Where Butterflies Play” demonstrates Barbara Paris’ tasteful talent as a jazz vocalist.  Joining Ms Paris on this fastidious new release are some of Denver’s finest players.  World re-known pianist, Joseph Bonner, compliments Ms Paris’ savory vocals on four tracks. The Bonner original composition “Your Kiss” is especially nice.  Also appearing on the CD are pianist Ellyn Rucker, tenor sax man Richie Chiaraluce, and Dean Ross on bass.  On three tracks, Mitchell Long provides a delicate touch on guitar.  All together, a marvelous back up group for Paris’ flowing vocals.  “Where Butterflies Play” is mellow and easy listening jazz that fans will find most interesting.

Colorado Music World

This local singer has a rare gift-a style all her own.  In songs such as “He May Be Your Man” and “Exactly Like You” she moves her light voice around a melody effortlessly, giving the words new meaning.  When she settles her vibrato around a note, it warms you through and through.  Bassist Kenny Walker and drummer Mike Whited keep things swinging and Rich Chiaraluce’s tenor alto sax solos are gems.

Jeff Bradley~The Denver Post

Colorado native Paris’ debut homegrown CD is inventive with fine sidemen.

Several duos with pianist Joe Bonner, then guitarist Mitchell Long spin out  the late Harold Vick title waltz, Bonner’s easy 5/4 “You Kiss”, choice sambas by Jobim and Bonfa, and neglected standards “Then I’ll Be Tired Of You”.

Fred Bouchard~Downbeat

This is the second Barbara Paris CD, backed this time by an outstanding saxophonist, Richie Chiaraluce, and the excellent pianist Joe Bonner.

Barbara sings some new songs, the most beautiful which is “April in Paris”, her favorite song.  Her voice, a little bit acid and detached, is sensual sometimes and follows with an unusual facility of the most sophisticated melodies.        Translated into English

   english translation                 Michel Bedin~Jazz Hot

Voice le second disque de Barbara Paris, ici accompagnee  par un remarquable saxophonist, Richie Chiaraluce, et par l’excellent  pianist Joe Bonner. Barbara Paris nous donne ici, avec de nouveaux morceauz, une version d’ “April in Paris”, une ballade fetiche pour elle. Toujours cetter voix u peu acide et detachee, qui sait se farire sensuelle et qui se plie avec une facilite’ rare aux melodies les plus sophistiques.

 Michel Bedin~Jazz HotIn early 2004, Barbara Paris released this 14-song retrospective on her Perea label. Swingballadsblues&bossanova draws on five different sessions from a seven-year period, and these ’90s and early-2000s recordings underscore the subtle nature of her singing. No one will accuse Paris of being a forceful, aggressive belter; subtlety is one of her strong points, and she uses it effectively on familiar standards that range from “Star Eyes” to Luiz Bonfá‘s “The Gentle Rain” and Antonio Carlos Jobim‘s “Corcovado.” Like Carol Sloane, Libby York, Claire Martin, and Dominique Eade, Paris isn’t the sort of vocalist who needs to shout and scream to get her points across — which isn’t to say there is anything wrong with a more hard-driving style of jazz singing. The loud-and-proud approach has often worked marvelously well for Dee Dee Bridgewater and Ernestine Anderson, but that isn’t what Paris is about; this CD is a tasteful example of restraint and understatement. Unfortunately, the warhorse factor is much too strong on Swingballadsblues&bossanova. “April in Paris,” “Everything Happens to Me,” “Like Someone in Love,” and “Exactly Like You” are the sort of overdone standards that have been beaten to death over the years — they’re great songs, but after being recorded countless times, how many more versions need to be heard? Paris would do well to pay less attention to warhorses and more attention to great songs that haven’t been recorded so many times. From Jobim to Duke Ellington to Stephen Sondheim, the truly prolific composers wrote a lot of overlooked gems that didn’t become standards — and many of them would work well for Paris if she would be less conservative in her choice of material. That said, Paris has a lot going for her, and all things considered, Swingballadsblues&bossanovapaints an attractive (if imperfect) picture of the Colorado-based jazz vocalist.

Colorado-based Barbara Paris is another singer with a strong, high voice but more natural rhythmic sense that lends itself to jazz. She works with three different settings here. Backed by Joe Bonner’s elaborate piano she shows a little girl wistfulness on ballads and gets as winsome as Lee Wiley on the nostalgic blues mood of “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans”.  With Mitchell Long she sounds more forceful and cool, a perfect sound for the two Jobim bossa nova’s they do. Finally, in a small group led by pianist Ellyn Rucker, she comes on rhythmically harder and really swinging supported by Rucker’s boppish piano and Richie Chiaraluce’s quietly burning sax.  Paris is obviously a very eclectic singer.

Jerome Wilson~Cadence

On Barbara Paris’ previous CD Where Butterflies Play (9/93),p.36) she worked with three different set of musicians. This time she settles down with on combo led by two veterans of the earlier session, Joe Bonner and Richie Chiaraluce.  Paris has a melodic, swinging voice that still shows its youth, just right for the starry eyed moods she tries to convey on most of the CD.  The blues sass of “He May Be Your Man” and the comical jadedness of “Everything Happens To Me” is still a little beyond her but her sunny sound is great on “April In Paris”, “Exactly Like You” and “September In The Rain”, Bonner’s muscular but elaborate piano and Chiaraluce’s cool tenor and flute giving her ample support.  All five participants seem to listen and play off of each other, making this sound like a really intimate small group session, not just a singer with anonymous backing, Paris is constantly improving as a singer.

Jerome Wilson~Cadence

“Where Butterflies Play” demonstrates Barbara Paris’ tasteful talent as a jazz vocalist.  Joining Ms Paris on this fastidious new release are some of Denver’s finest players.  World re-known pianist, Joseph Bonner, compliments Ms Paris’ savory vocals on four tracks. The Bonner original composition “Your Kiss” is especially nice.  Also appearing on the CD are pianist Ellyn Rucker, tenor sax man Richie Chiaraluce, and Dean Ross on bass.  On three tracks, Mitchell Long provides a delicate touch on guitar.  All together, a marvelous back up group for Paris’ flowing vocals.  “Where Butterflies Play” is mellow and easy listening jazz that fans will find most interesting.

Colorado Music World

This local singer has a rare gift-a style all her own.  In songs such as “He May Be Your Man” and “Exactly Like You” she moves her light voice around a melody effortlessly, giving the words new meaning.  When she settles her vibrato around a note, it warms you through and through.  Bassist Kenny Walker and drummer Mike Whited keep things swinging and Rich Chiaraluce’s tenor alto sax solos are gems.

Jeff Bradley~The Denver Post

Colorado native Paris’ debut homegrown CD is inventive with fine sidemen.

Several duos with pianist Joe Bonner, then guitarist Mitchell Long spin out  the late Harold Vick title waltz, Bonner’s easy 5/4 “You Kiss”, choice sambas by Jobim and Bonfa, and neglected standards “Then I’ll Be Tired Of You”.

Fred Bouchard~Downbeat

This is the second Barbara Paris CD, backed this time by an outstanding saxophonist, Richie Chiaraluce, and the excellent pianist Joe Bonner.

Barbara sings some new songs, the most beautiful which is “April in Paris”, her favorite song.  Her voice, a little bit acid and detached, is sensual sometimes and follows with an unusual facility of the most sophisticated melodies.        Translated into English

   english translation                 Michel Bedin~Jazz Hot

Voice le second disque de Barbara Paris, ici accompagnee  par un remarquable saxophonist, Richie Chiaraluce, et par l’excellent  pianist Joe Bonner. Barbara Paris nous donne ici, avec de nouveaux morceauz, une version d’ “April in Paris”, une ballade fetiche pour elle. Toujours cetter voix u peu acide et detachee, qui sait se farire sensuelle et qui se plie avec une facilite’ rare aux melodies les plus sophistiques.

 Michel Bedin~Jazz HotIn early 2004, Barbara Paris released this 14-song retrospective on her Perea label. Swingballadsblues&bossanova draws on five different sessions from a seven-year period, and these ’90s and early-2000s recordings underscore the subtle nature of her singing. No one will accuse Paris of being a forceful, aggressive belter; subtlety is one of her strong points, and she uses it effectively on familiar standards that range from “Star Eyes” to Luiz Bonfá‘s “The Gentle Rain” and Antonio Carlos Jobim‘s “Corcovado.” Like Carol Sloane, Libby York, Claire Martin, and Dominique Eade, Paris isn’t the sort of vocalist who needs to shout and scream to get her points across — which isn’t to say there is anything wrong with a more hard-driving style of jazz singing. The loud-and-proud approach has often worked marvelously well for Dee Dee Bridgewater and Ernestine Anderson, but that isn’t what Paris is about; this CD is a tasteful example of restraint and understatement. Unfortunately, the warhorse factor is much too strong on Swingballadsblues&bossanova. “April in Paris,” “Everything Happens to Me,” “Like Someone in Love,” and “Exactly Like You” are the sort of overdone standards that have been beaten to death over the years — they’re great songs, but after being recorded countless times, how many more versions need to be heard? Paris would do well to pay less attention to warhorses and more attention to great songs that haven’t been recorded so many times. From Jobim to Duke Ellington to Stephen Sondheim, the truly prolific composers wrote a lot of overlooked gems that didn’t become standards — and many of them would work well for Paris if she would be less conservative in her choice of material. That said, Paris has a lot going for her, and all things considered, Swingballadsblues&bossanovapaints an attractive (if imperfect) picture of the Colorado-based jazz vocalist.