As one who has absorbed the jazz art form and expanded upon that by blending her unique delivery with other known styles, singer/pianist Patricia Barber reaches out and grabs the cerebral element in her listeners while keeping the swing alive. Her lyrics leave a considerable heap for the listener to reflect upon, while her soft, whispering, slow grind delivery impresses from a jazz and blues perspective. A double major in classical piano and psychology at the University of Iowa, Barber has issued her first five albums in the ‘90s with a broad audience in mind. Her lyrics to "If This Isn’t Jazz" reflect Barber’s true spirit, reminding us of the various areas of jazz that connect with the blues, pop, classical and beat poetry.
While pop classics "Black Magic Woman" and "The Beat Goes On" are refreshing and satisfy a large portion of her audience, Barber’s powerful piano piece "Like JT," inspired by Jacky Terrasson, reaches a different audience. Fortunately, Barber’s is an audience that ignores barriers between pop, jazz, and classical music: listeners who like good music, appreciate the jazz core in her presentation, and realize that her rare talents are fulfilling many needs at once. Highly recommended, Barber’s latest album is but a stepping stone to unique 21st Century jazz with a creative spirit at the controls.
| Year Released: 1999
| Record Label: Blue Note