Cheryl Dyrithe Barnes is a classically trained jazz singer in possession of remarkable depth, range and technique. Beloved around the world as a captivating live performer, Cheryl shied away from making records for nearly a decade. In 2014, Ms. Barnes returned with her fourth and finest album to date, a studio recording entitled Listen to This for which every one of the twelve selections is a personally inspired gem. Produced by Rahn Coleman and also featuring the impassioned piano playing of her husband Phil Cabasso, Listen to This was patiently rendered over a 5-year period, prepared with tender loving care utilizing Los Angeles’ finest, including soloists saxophonists Rickey Woodard and Pete Christlieb, pianists John Hammond and Joel Scott, and trumpeter Nolan Shaheed.
Listen to This moves from two tunes penned by Mark Winkler (the sassy “Like Jazz” and the evocative nostalgia of “That Afternoon In Harlem” to inventive adaptations of “When I Am Laid In Earth” (from Henry Purcell’s opera “Dido and Aeneas”) and Joni Mitchell’s epic “Come In From The Cold.” There’s even a Christmas song. “I love how varied the album is…because I’m varied,” Cheryl beams. “The complexity of jazz – of improvisation, expression and harmony – is clearly there. Rahn, Phil and our engineer Aaron Testerman spent hours – I’m talking marathon sessions – working,” Cheryl shares. “Phil would come home with his eyes like x's! We didn’t have a deadline so we never rushed. A beautiful evolution blossomed through the process.”
From the hippest of contemporary fare like “Come with me” and “What’s On Your Mind” to choice standards such as “I wish you love” (dedicated to the memory of Gloria Lynne) and “Why Did I Choose You” (inspired by Barbara Streisand’s rendition), Ms. Barnes brings a singular warmth and empathy to every line she sings, engaging listeners from a purr to a power belt. The title track “Listen To This” (composed and arranged by Cabasso), “What’s Fair In Love” (created and directed by coleman) and “Baby’s Got Some Awful Kind Of Blues” (crafted by John Hammond) are renderings of original pieces that are sure to go down as Cheryl Barnes classics. “This project solidifies within myself my view of myself as a true artist,” Cheryl poetically states.