Patricia Barber is a study in contradictions. She is one of the most highly sought-after concert artists in jazz, and one of the most difficult to understand. Her music is uniquely hers; she doesn’t explain it or herself (most probably the reason she has never been nominated for a Grammy). She is at once a big success and a well-kept secret. She will turn down most offers, choosing instead to study, compose, practice the piano, polish a language, or tend to her family and garden. She is elusive but pulls out all the stops at the few venues where she chooses to perform throughout the year. She regularly sells out concerts in European Capitals from Lisbon to Moscow.
The first songwriter to ever be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, Barber is constantly looking for innovative ways to present jazz. Her weekly Quartet appearances at Chicago’s legendary Green Mill represent one of the longest running residencies in the country.
Barber’s latest release, Smash, reiterates her unique position in modern music as a jazz triple-threat – imaginative pianist, startling vocalist, and innovative composer. With a new band and a dozen new compositions, she also continues her two-decade crusade to retrieve the ground that jazz musicians long ago ceded to pop and rock: the realm of the intelligent and committed singer-songwriter, tackling even familiar subjects (like love and loss) with a nuance and depth beyond the limits of the Great American Songbook.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“This is what Patricia Barber has: adventurous piano playing, a low-vibrato alto… and smart songs about the way we think and live, not just the way we love. This is the kind of art we need to be on the lookout for everywhere. The 21st century has started. We can’t afford to be left behind.” -New York Times
“The coolest singer/songwriter around.” -Los Angeles Times