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Patricia Barber: Mythologies (2006)

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Patricia Barber: Mythologies How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

In much the same way that a visual artist paints memorable themes on canvas, Patricia Barber puts her ideas into music by establishing an open avenue of communication with her audience. Her voice is always a pleasure. Her piano work is comfortable in the context of her role as storyteller. Her compositions are deep enough that we'll revisit them again and again.

Barber puts the blues into each of her adventurous musical portraits. Her quartet partners, guitarist Neal Alger, bassist Michael Arnopol and drummer Eric Montzka, surround the singer/pianist with hot stuff from start to finish. The scenes vary, as the characters that she's chosen to represent come from different viewpoints.

"Icarus is light and positive, while "Pygmalion suffers from a heavy dose of the blues. "Narcissus drowns in romantic sorrow; "Orpheus treads heavily while crying out in sorrow. "Oedipus perks up with a raging storm of percussion activity, while "Persephone waltzes slowly and lightly as if through a meadow of flowers in full bloom. The five-star program delivers a thousand images bound by progressive, enduring jazz wrappings.

Barber, now fifty, grew up in South Sioux City, Nebraska. Her music retains the influence of America's heartland through its storytelling, down-home comfort and soulful sharing. Through Mythologies, we're transported home to our own roots: the church, school and neighborhood organizations that helped us to develop and mature.

Track Listing: The Moon; Morpheus; Pygmalion; Hunger; Icarus; Orpheus/Sonnet; Persephone; Narcissus; Whiteworld/Oedipus; Phaethon; The Hours.

Personnel: Patricia Barber: piano, vocals; Neal Alger: guitar; Michael Arnopol: bass; Eric Montzka: drums; Jim Gailloreto: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Paul Falk, Grazyna Auguscik, Lawrice Flowers, Airreal Watkins, Walter Mitchell Owens III: additional vocals; Choral Thunder, directed by Shelby Webb, Jr.: background vocals.

Record Label: Blue Note Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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