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“I hope people will sing and dance and celebrate with this music, as a way to replenish our joy”

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Juno-nominated jazz singer Micah Barnes | Photo: Juan Palacio

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Not even a global pandemic can slow down Canadian Jazz crooner Micah Barnes. During the lockdown, Barnes not only released his latest music album, Vegas Breeze, he wrapped up a virtual cross-Canadian tour.

“In my home studio at my little baby grand, I performed every night for 14 days—streaming venues from one end of Canada to the other,” said Barnes. “I really felt like I was touring the country, because the viewers changed night after night. We ended up with over 23,000 viewers from coast to coast.”

Vegas Breeze, like its title suggests, is a welcome wind that transports people to the sizzle of Las Vegas yesteryear. The album features songs first recorded by legends Sammy Davis Jr., Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Mel Torme and Lena Horne.

“Our aim was to give folks a moment of respite from the challenges of the pandemic, and the struggle for racial equality,” said Barnes. “I hope people will sing and dance and celebrate with this music, as a way to replenish our joy, and use that as an inspiration to help make a better day here in Canada for everyone.”

The Juno-nominated recording artist is formerly of the Canadian a capella quartet The Nylons (1989-1996), which brought him into the global music scene. Their hits included classic covers of Happy Together, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and Kiss Him Goodbye.

Barnes later launched a solo career, leading him to his #1 international 2003 club hit Welcome To My Head.

He earned his stride as an artist with his #1 Canada Jazz Chart album New York Stories (2015), music that captures the intimacy of the late night jazz scene.

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Barnes describes creating Vegas Breeze: “There was another aspect to my musical personality that was looking to be expressed. I have always been a bit of an entertainer, and there is no better expression of that relationship between an audience and entertainer than the classic era of the Vegas showroom.”

Barnes was born in Vienna, and raised in Toronto. His late father, Milton Barnes, was a composer who wrote for the concert hall and frequently performed in synagogues. His mother, Lilly Barnes, was the head writer for much-beloved children’s program, CBC’s Mr. Dressup.

Reverence for the arts portrayed in Jewish culture is deeply ingrained in Barnes’ DNA.

“My grandmother on my father’s side auditioned successfully for the Yiddish theatre but her parents wouldn’t let her join, so she sang at all the weddings,” said Barnes. “On the other side, my grandmother was a concert pianist in Europe.”

Micah Barnes’ Vegas Breeze

Barnes grew up listening to classical, jazz, blues and gospel music. The gift of music was also born in his two younger brothers: Daniel, a composer and drummer; and youngest brother Ariel, a classical cellist.

Barnes collaborated with brother Daniel on the title track, Vegas Breeze. The song portrays a weekend in Vegas—with all of the thrills and romance people hope for when they dream about getting away.

“When in Vegas, we want ‘lady luck’ to smile on us. Maybe it’s a breeze, maybe it’s the desert, maybe it’s a breeze off the desert that changes our luck, changes our life and changes what’s possible for us moving forward,” explained Barnes.

The album includes the #1 chart-topping hit singles, That’s Life and When In Rome. In choosing which songs would make the album, Barnes and his band looked well beyond the Rat Pack music.

“The first tune, Welcome to the Club was recorded by Nat King Cole. It’s a little unusual and people don’t know it. I recorded a little-known Broadway tune called Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home, from a musical called St. Louis Woman. It’s one of those big swagger kind of anthems that would be familiar to fans of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin,” said Barnes.

The album also includes original songs written by Barnes.

“I put my own stamp on the era,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Vegas Breeze is available on iTunes, Spotify and Apple music.

Canadian journalist Susan Minuk is both humbled and heartened by everyday stories with the power to touch or inspire her readers’ lives. Susan’s work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Canadian Jewish News.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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