Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Patricia Barber: Verse

196

Patricia Barber: Verse

By

Sign in to view read count
Patricia Barber: Verse
Verse is Patricia Barber's seventh album since her 1989 debut, Split, on the little known and poorly distributed Floyd Records, named after her musician father, Floyd Barber. Her second album, A Distortion of Love , was released on the Verve Antilles label and did not appear until three years later, but it brought the Chicago-based singer to public attention. Since 2000 she has been on the esteemed Blue Note label.

No one sounds like Barber—which, of course, is what you want from a jazz singer. Her vocal phrasing, rhythm and timbre are unique. Barber is an idiosyncratic song stylist whose originals are often more interesting that her interpretations of the Great American Songbook. Despite that fact, Verse is her first CD comprised of all original material. It is also her best and is, in fact, a brilliant recording. The critics agree. Don Heckman, writing for the L.A. Times, called Verse a "career-defining collection" and a "remarkable accomplishment." A recent issue of JazzTimes magazine called it "a brilliant collections of songs."

The songs are brilliant, insightful and literate, and they present ten views on the variations of love and relationships. Barber opens with "The Moon," a most unusual and intriguing song, written almost in haiku form. It contains a brilliant trumpet solo by Dave Douglas. The second selection, "Lost in This Love," features a series of questions that comprise a lively salute to the sweet confusion of newly minted infatuation. It is written in an offbeat meter that, surprisingly, works very well. Barber follows with "Clues," a hypnotic examination of the obvious hints we all fail to recognize ("the slam of the door; the shift of an eye") when romance begins to decompose.

On the clever "I Could Eat Your Words," Barber lights a flame to create one of the more unusual, and yet sensual, love songs ever composed. ("I'll drink remorse like a cabernet/Guilt like garlic needs to saut"). "If I Were Blue" may be the most accessible song in this collection. It simply shimmers and could be a standard in the making. Also noteworthy is "You Gotta Go Home" which is about an increasingly exasperating lover who has more than overstayed her welcome. It's a colorful and witty yarn ("a sexy month or two/now I'm stuck with you/you just gotta go").

This superior CD features trumpeter Dave Douglas and drummer Joey Baron, along with Barber's longtime touring group, guitarist Neal Alger, bassist Michael Arnopol and drummer Eric Montzka.

Verse was also produced by Barber and, fortunately, she assumed full control of the final product. Integrity and maintaining an artistic vision are important to her. She is very proud of this CD - - and rightfully so. Patricia Barber has raised the bar for songwriters, whatever the genre.

Track Listing

-The Moon 6:06 -Lost In This Love 3:03 -Clues 5:01 -Pieces 5:37 -I Could Eat Your Words 7:54 -The Fire 4:54 -Regular Pleasures 5:46 -Dansons La Gigue 4:23 (adapted from text by Paul Verlaine) -You Gotta Go Home 3:20 -If I Were Blue 5:56

Personnel

Patricia Barber - vocals, piano, Fender Rhodes Neal Alger - guitars Michael Arnopol - bass Joey Baron - drums (1-4, 6-10) Dave Douglas - trumpet Eric Montzka - drums (5) Cliff Colnot String Ensemble (2)

Album information

Title: Verse | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


< Previous
Jazz Influence

Comments

Tags

Concerts


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

More

Escape
Ellie Lee
Red Planet
Marco Colonna / Edoardo Marraffa / Fabrizio Spera...
The Salerno Concert
Bob Mover / Walter Davis Jr.

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.