All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

235

Patricia Barber: Live: A Fortnight in France

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
The mere mention of a woman speaking French is enough to set many men's imaginations to wandering. If she's singing it, and has a pleasant voice to boot, the listener—male or female—can't help but smile. Although Patricia Barber only offers Français on one track of her latest album, Live: A Fortnight in France , it is one of the many high points.

Recorded early in 2004 at clubs in three French cities (L'Arsenal in Metz, La Coursive in La Rochelle, and La Cigale in Paris), the album presents Barber on five original songs and five covers that show her range and diversity, from the romantic to the edgy.

"I've always been a Francophile,€? she says. "I love the people, the language, the food and wind. And I love Paris most of all.€?

No doubt, after hearing this music, Paris loves her as well. The album contains an hour's worth of music that highlights pianist/vocalist Barber and her sidemen—Neal Alger, guitar; Michael Arnopol, bass; and Eric Montzha, drums—in a truly improvisational setting. At times they're mellow and elegant; at times, they're sizzling. Either way, the audiences appreciate the quartet's expression, tightness and energy.

This is particularly true on such tracks as the aptly named "Crash,€? a funk-grooved Barber original. All players get a moment in the spotlight, but it's definitely a group piece. Barber also revisits two songs from her 2002 CD Verse , one of them being the charming "Dansons La Gigue!,€? a beautiful recollection of a love affair with French lyrics by 18th Century French poet Paul Verlaine. Later in the program, the quartet offers a cover that's a part of their regular act, the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood.€? This seven-minute offering features Barber first in a light vocal/piano solo that does justice to the original. When bassist Arnopol joins, the track takes on its instrumental and improvisational air, with the other musicians entering the fray at the appropriate times.

This is a textbook example of why it's not enough to cover someone else's song. To make it relevant, one has to adapt it, make it one's own—which Barber and her crew accomplish in sterling fashion. Live: A Fortnight in France is Barber's eighth release. This 50/50 balance of new music and newly interpreted covers provides an excellent way to introduce fans who aren't familiar with her music, as well as energize those who are.

Track Listing: Gotcha, Dansons La Gigue!, Crash, Laura, Pieces, Blue Prelude, Witchcraft, Norwegian Wood, Whiteworld, Call Me

Personnel: Patricia Barber, piano and vocals; Neal Alger, guitar; Michael Arnopol, bass; Eric Motzha, drums

Title: Live: A Fortnight in France | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Smash

Smash

Concord Records
2013

buy
 

Modern Cool

Blue Note
2012

buy

Related Articles

Read Dawn CD/LP/Track Review
Dawn
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Life Of CD/LP/Track Review
Life Of
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun CD/LP/Track Review
Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun
by Gareth Thompson
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Enso CD/LP/Track Review
Enso
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Let Your Light Shine On CD/LP/Track Review
Let Your Light Shine On
by Chris May
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 26, 2018
Read "Unfamiliar Surroundings" CD/LP/Track Review Unfamiliar Surroundings
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 10, 2017
Read "Dialectrical" CD/LP/Track Review Dialectrical
by John Sharpe
Published: June 19, 2017
Read "Octopus" CD/LP/Track Review Octopus
by Don Phipps
Published: February 28, 2018
Read "Der Dichter Spricht" CD/LP/Track Review Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read "Infra" CD/LP/Track Review Infra
by John Eyles
Published: October 7, 2017
Read "Combsy" CD/LP/Track Review Combsy
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2017