"Don't neglect to find [Holding On], as it is a winner. . . . This husband-wife duo get right down to business and offer a polished, swinging, charming, statement of voice and guitar, superbly backed by Steve La Spina on bass and Elliot Zigmund or John Clay on drums. ... There are original tunes ... prepared with extraordinary arranging. 'Afternoon' is the fresh sounding swinging opener. It is fast, and promises a unique set to come. 'Holding On,' the title piece, is a slow bossa beauty while 'Roller Coaster' is an up-tempo rhythmically and harmonically exciting piece that will keep one's attention. There are five more great tunes that demonstrate the full range of Joanne's vocal abilities, which seem boundless ..."
- Just Jazz Guitar -
"Joanne is a sultry, sophisticated brunette backed by an able trio, as she breathes new meaning into standards like 'The Song is You' over the driving beat of her husband Carl on the guitar. . . . The lovely lady has a sense of humor, with the poise to smile through the sadness. She sounds as though she knows what she's singing about."
- New York Daily News -
"Ms. Barry's voice is silky and throbbingly pliant. Her range is broad and very strong at the high end. She is attuned to the trio behind her and, therefore, able to sing with the confidence of a racecar driver who knows precisely what the machine will do under any conditions and on every bend in the road."
- Cadence -
"[Joanne] Barry is a fine expressive singer and lyric writer in whose work one can detect the influence of Flora Purim. [Carl] Barry is an accomplished jazz guitarist and accompanist whose work is sometimes reminiscent of Jim Hall. Good listening."
- OP Magazine -
"Joanne Barry is tall, nicely contoured, and armed with excellent arrangements. She is careful and studied in her work, and her deep immersion in the dramatic aspects of song, makes a strong impression on the audience. She also has the excellent guitar accomps of her husband, Carl. His pluckings are tasty and shift between delicacy and strength."
- Variety -
"A pleasant surprise was the unadvertised appearance of Joanne Barry, a talented vocalist with good chops and a wide range. She soon had the courtyard in the palm of her hand with her swinging approach to the standard repertoire."
Century Guitar -
"Ms. Barry evoked many comparisons to Sarah Vaughn, perhaps as tall an order as you'll find in jazz."
- Downbeat -
"'Holding On' is strictly an after hours LP but only in the best sense of the term. This guitar and voice dominated outing, packed with originals, provides a nice ambience and is loaded with feeling."
- Midwest Record Review -
"'Holding On' is the name of Joanne Barry's recital with Carl Barry's trio. More contemporary and with original songs, this pert lady shows a wide range, an open honest way with a ditty."
- The Wax Works -
"[In 'Embraceable You'], vocalist Joanne and husband-guitarist Carl have produced a wonderful set of swinging jazz standards that showcase her beautiful voice and give us all a lesson in placing the guitar with a singer. . . . [Joanne] has listened well to all our favorite ladies of jazz and developed a style of her very own to deliver a song and its message . . . in a most charming way -- with scat, and in- and out-side of the melody approaches, we travel precisely through the real meaning and guts of each offering. . . . This is a CD recommended without reservation; a musical thrill."
- Just Jazz Guitar -
"['Embraceable You' is] a CD's worth of material by vocalist Joanne Barry and her guitarist/husband Carl . . . [It] brings their talents to a wider audience and offers a dozen sparkling vocals put to Carl's solid arrangements for an excellent band. Joanne's voice presents a unique paradox, at once prone to being darkly shaded and bittersweet, as on the opening 'You Don't Know What Love Is,' but still capable of a coquettish verve as evidenced by the classic 'That's All'. Her choice of repertoire shows that dramatic range to advantage . . . Her version of 'Autumn Leaves' also proves her to be a facile scatter. . . . When this duo launches into 'I Got it Bad and That Ain't Good', I have to say 'no, it's the other way around!', they've got it good . . . and that ain't bad!"
- 20th Century Guitar -
"Joanne Barry['s] . . . voice is still a rich, almost operatic instrument which she uses at her pleasure. When she sustains tones high in her contralto range, she reminds me of Ernestine Jackson, a singer/actress I admired in the original Broadway cast of 'Raisin.' . . . Under the right circumstances, I could easily conceive of Ms. Barry on stage in vehicles that might range from Victor Herbert to Sondheim. This is not to disparage her Jazz credentials, for at her best on [Embraceable You], she makes short work of chestnuts like '[Autumn] Leaves', '[I] Got it Bad', and '[Beautiful] Friendship'. . . . 'That's All' demonstrates how Barry can juggle the disparate parts of her skill. She swings, making the most of her voice's serpentine possibilities, all the while reading the lyric with loving care. . . . '[My Funny] Valentine' tops the program off with a nicely controlled, but ardent reading . . ."
- Cadence -
"For her second album, Joanne Barry joins husband Carl Barry and other good New York musicians on a mixed agenda of familiar and not-so-familiar material. . . . Joanne Barry's voice is powerful, but she controls it nicely. Because she is the mistress of a considerable set of pipes, she is able to bring the appropriate set of emotions to the ballads and then swing mightily on the up-tempo material. There's lots of solid help here, led by the cleanly plucked guitar of Carl Barry, which takes on the role the piano usually plays in vocal accompaniment. Another important contributor is Michael Morreale, who's on four tracks and was the mainstay with Joe Jackson for several years. His high-flying trumpet with John Clay's palpitating drums drive a swooping, sweeping, scatting Joanne Barry on a wild "My Favorite Things." In stark contrast is her almost Elizabethan music rendition of "My Funny Valentine," with Carl Barry's lute like guitar being the principal instrumental chaperone. . . . A special treat is the appearance of guitarist Jack Wilkins on "Alone in the World." This album is attractive not only because of Joanne Barry's poise and absolute confidence in her ability to make songs sound new, or at least refreshed, but because she was wise to allot plenty of playing space for the good sidemen on this session. Recommended."
- Dave Nathan, for AMG (All Music Guide)