Barbara Lusch makes "a fine and overdue debut" (Jazz Scene, March 2004) with this self-titled CD. In "Barbara Lusch", she has gathered a mix of material from the 1940s to 1960s, including tunes recorded by influential artists such as Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee and Julie London. Her intimate, honest-sounding, mellow voice floats above the grooves both Latin and swing.
This CD showcases Barbara's sparkling jazz interpretations of classics of pop, swing, Bossa Nova as well as standards. Noted by critics for her solid vocal talent with Pepe & the Bottle Blondes, Barbara started her own band nearly two years ago with the help of renowned percussionist Bobby Torres. For the twelve songs on the album, Torres and pianist Dan Gaynor created unique arrangements that reinterpret these standards, including unusual versions of 'Light My Fire', 'Come On-A My House' and 'Black Coffee'.
Barbara chooses her music with an eye to telling a story and setting a mood. Just listen to how she draws you into "I Love The Way You're Breaking My Heart", or places the listener on a velvet cushion in "So Nice".
A native of Portland, Oregon, Barbara lived and studied in New York and Los Angeles, gaining performance experience in network TV series, sitcoms, films, commercials, print, as well as theater. Returning to Portland, she performed for five years with Pepe & the Bottle Blondes, a popular salsa/swing band, until forming her own group several years ago.
Kyle O'Brien in Jazz Scene has praised her "pure, relaxed and alluringly breathy" voice, as well as her "delicious sense of timing drawing the listener in like a siren, with a delivery that sways sexily behind the beat, as on her slinky swing version of Come On-A My House and a Latin swing version of Light My Fire"(Jazz Society of Oregon, March 2004). The Oregonian (April 2, 2004) compares her interpretations favorably to those of Astrud Gilberto, Shirley Bassey, Julie London and Peggy Lee, and states "it's not hard to get carried along by the familiar tunes filling (Barbara's) debut...album." The band also receives kudos: The Oregonian (April 2, 2004) pointed out Bobby Torres' "understated percussion and classy arranging (that) works like the gears of a fine timepiece..." "A fine band of local musicians back Lusch with understated precision...and give Lusch a solid platform to transport the melody with her plush voice", wrote Kyle O'Brien (Jazz Scene, March 2004)