Barbara Montgomery | Trinity

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Easy Listening: Mood Music Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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by Barbara Montgomery

Barbara Montgomery has gained a solid reputation as a sultry songstress, once described by a reporter as an "ice cream blond with a black coffee jazz voice"...
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Alexandra Leaving (Cohen/Robinson)
7:16 album only
2. Litle One (Graves/Montgomery)
7:43 album only
3. If It's Magic (S. Wonder)
5:31 album only
4. April 14 (Montgomery/Graves)
5:09 album only
5. Avec Le Temps (L. Ferre)
5:37 album only
6. 1,000 Kisses Deep (Cohen/Robinson)
5:52 album only
7. Junkman (D. O'Keefe)
6:40 album only
8. She Speaks (Montgomery/Graves)
5:44 album only
9. Between (Montgomery/Graves)
7:38 album only
10. Crazy Love (V. Morrison)
5:56 album only
11. I Fall In Love Too Easily (S. Cahn)
5:20 album only
12. Trinity (Montgomery/Graves)
5:29 album only


Album Notes
With her fifth release, entitled Trinity (2005 -- records, a division of Mr. Bean and Bumpy Music, Inc.), Montgomery takes us on a journey into the felicity and pathos which comprises the human condition. The album was lovingly co-produced by Montgomery with her partner, distinguished jazz pianist Aaron Graves; Graves arranged all the tracks, and five of the songs were written by the duo. As its name implies, Trinity is a spiritual compilation which evokes a range of human emotions - grief and sadness, longing and desire, resilience and belief. Montgomery and Graves are joined on the CD by some of today's most gifted musicians, and the result is a poignant, jubilant and thoughtful recording which reinforces the continuity and commonality that exists among us all.

Trinity consists of twelve tracks of varied musical lineage, all a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit in the midst of darkness. Trinity begins with "Alexandra Leaving", a tribute to a young girl whose life was ruthlessly cut down in an act of brutal, cowardly violence. It sets the tone for the album. It is mournful, opening with the sound of doleful bells tolling. It then soars to the height of hopefulness, the lyrics contemplative, the melody sweet, and Montgomery's voice full of redemption. It continues with "Little One", a decidedly soulful, jazzy tune that pays homage to the indelible spirit of freedom fighter Harriet Tubman. The song is inundated with the rich, hearty sound of the soprano saxophone of Joe Ford. "It is a healing song," Montgomery states, "hearkening back to a beauty in all of us when we were children."

A cover of Stevie Wonder's "If It's Magic" was co-producer Aaron Graves' choice for the CD. It is arranged in a winsome, simplistic groove, with Montgomery joined by piano, drums, bass, ewi and horn. Her voice skips gracefully over the profound, straight forward lyrics. "April 14" was written in honor of Montgomery's mom and dad and their wedding anniversary. It calls forth mental images of a couple relaxing in their easy chairs, relaxing in their supreme knowledge of each other's beings and hearts after fifty years of marriage. The chanteuse wonders aloud - will she ever find such an endearing love, the "other half of the pair"? Lynn Riley's flute adds just the perfect compliment to the sweet, unspoiled sentiment of the track.

Montgomery's smoky voice is sexy and resplendent in "Avec Le Temps", sang in the language in which it was written. Songwriter and poet Leo Ferre would undoubtedly be impressed with this arrangement of his powerful ode to love lost. Graves' piano serves as a hard, driving force intensifying Montgomery's lush interpretation. Similarly, Graves' arrangement of "1,000 Kisses Deep" is reminiscent of modern French music styles, with a hint of Latin influence provided by Marlon Simon's congas and the electric guitar of Ron Jennings. The lyrics were originally written by Canadian poet Leonard Cohen. The track subtlety modulates higher and lower, as Montgomery reflects the twin emotions of hopelessness and despair. Danny O'Keefe's "Junkman" (off his 1973 Breezy Stories album) is next, rendered by Montgomery and her crew in a blues-funk format, giving the song about a predatory drug dealer a funky, hip feel highlighted by Monette Sudler's urgent, raw, earthy electric guitar.

On "She Speaks", Montgomery gives the listener a revealing peek into the psyche of women, and the silence that is so often imposed upon women both by the outside world and themselves. It is a quiet, still track, reflective and deliberate. "Her silence speaks through the centuries with a phantom cry," the lyrics say, loudly stating what so many women inherently know.

"Between", Montgomery says, is biographical. "I lived this literally at one point in my life - in fact, did and still do." It is a reminder to "stay and hold the present," and revel in stillness and the joy of stillness. It is a lovely song, pretty, melodic and rich. Van Morrison's Crazy Love, Montgomery says, is a song for Graves. Though the two had been professionally involved for years, about a year ago the two began to see each other differently. Their collaboration, on a musical and a spiritual level, has inspired Montgomery in new and exciting ways.

"I Fall In Love Too Easily", (written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne - made famous by Frank Sinatra) is the one traditional "jazz standard" on Trinity, done by Montgomery as a respectful tribute to the elders of the music. It is a soulful, respectful rendition, with Montgomery's voice deep and cavernous. The compilation ends with "Trinity", and it is in its position on the CD for a profound reason. It ties it all together. Up tempo and fusion flavored, its profound lyrics ask the question of the listener ' your trinity?" What do you stand for? What drives you? What are your values? What is the reason for YOUR existence? The question, if taken seriously, can be a very uncomfortable one. And yet, without it, what is the meaning of life?

Montgomery has been a player in the music industry for over thirty years, wearing many hats. Over that time one of the most important roles she has played is as mother to son Michael and daughter Remy - the very "Mr. Bean and Bumpy" she named her company for. No longer making music just to produce great records, Montgomery's work in Trinity reflects her love of humanity and its frailties. Joined on the album by such renowned artists as bassists Lee Smith and Mike Boone, drummer Wilby Fletcher, percussionist Doc Gibbs, trumpeter John Swana, and others, Trinity is Montgomery's gift to the world, a gift full of hope and grace in the face of life's cruelties.

Born in California, Montgomery's childhood mirrored that of an "army brat", for her father was an engineer whose worked paralleled the travels of the military. She spent several formative years in Vietnam witnessing man's inhumanity to man. Today, she is a strong anti-violence and gun violence prevention advocate who uses her voice and gift to spread the philosophy of non-violence.

Barbara Montgomery - TRINITY: I'm seldom inclined to listen to music with "religious" overtones or influences... what sets Ms. Montgomery's latest effort apart, though, is that there's no "preaching" involved. It does have a deep "spiritual" pull, primarily because of Barbara's clear skill at wrapping the listener in a cocoon that allows them to escape the mundane & paltry, & let them feel the power (we all have) of the music she sings. Solid jazz influences, but th' "roots" of the music composed and played here extends across musical borders to make it less "jazz" than "accessible to all". Barbara has a most haunting quality in her vocals... deep & resonant, exactly the quality I'd imagine those "sirens" of old using to draw listeners (inescapably) to them. Her rendition of Stevie Wonder's "If It's Magic" is the best (besides Stevie, of course) I've ever heard. The album features a cast of musical characters far too long to itemize here... you'll have to purchase the album, or learn more at This CD is among the best jazz vocal CD's I've heard this year, & gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me! You can purchase the CD soon, as it hits the streets on 1 June, 2005. Rotcod Zzaj
Dick Metcalf, aka Rotcod Zzaj
Prime perpetrator & Incipient Instigator
Zzaj Productions & Improvijazzation Nation

May 7, 2005
Barbara Montgomery ''Trinity'' MBB005 W. CARROLL
Well, it'll make your hair stand on it's end when you take in Barbara's totally involved version of the wondrous Cahn/Styne jazz ballad, "I Fall In Love Too Easily." This fine jazz singer has to be included in those things we hold as '' a national treasure.'' Kudos too, to the accompaniment which flows well, cushioning her strong vocalise. Succinctly stated.....It's completely captivating. The last thing I want to say about Barbara Montgomery & her music is.....It is the anthitesis of abstract........This is the real deal!!

"This is a great CD." Myra Chanin, Booking Producer for the Joey Reynolds Show, WOR-AM, NY, NY

Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
June 29, 2005
Trinity is a very different recording for singer Barbara Montgomery. For one thing, she co-wrote five of the 12 songs with pianist Aaron Graves. Also, a couple of the songs are in French and even on the English songs, she often hints at an exotic French accent. In addition, there is a pair of Leonard Cohen songs. The only older standard is "I Fall in Love Too Easily" although Van Morrison's "Crazy Love" almost qualifies. The emphasis throughout is on ballads and is as much pop and cabaret as it is jazz. There are some nice instrumental touches from Graves' keyboards, Joe Ford 's soprano on "Little One," and flugelhornist John Swana on Stevie Wonder "If It's Magic." But the main focus is on Barbara Montgomery's haunting and atmospheric voice, which is a taste worth acquiring.

Barbara Montgomery - Trinity 3/3 June 26, 2005
O's Notes: Her deep voice is projected on top of a balanced supporting musical landscape. The program is popular ballads sung in both English and French, a split of newly arranged covers and originals. The lyrics are a meaningful set of inspirational stories. We particularly liked the title track with Joe Ford echoing Barbara's voice and soloing on soprano sax. Overall, the results are a peaceful and provocative performance. --D. Oscar Groomes
O's Place Jazz Newsletter/

"Barbara Montgomery is a special jazz singer--her unassuming musical intelligence, her emotional honesty, and her refined taste in songs are amply displayed on her latest album, Trinity."
Frank Hadley, Jazz Critic, DownBeat/Jazziz



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