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
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.