Patricia Barber has been in the vanguard of the new school of female jazz vocalists who in the past several decades have been exploring intriguing improvisational terrain beyond classic balladry and bop-infused standards. She was born in a suburb of Chicago to a saxophone-playing father, Floyd "Shim" Barber, who had played with Glenn Miller. After studying classical piano and psychology at the University of Iowa, Barber moved back to Chicago to play jazz and in 1984 landed the gig that launched her career, playing five nights a week at the famed Gold Star Sardine Bar. Before long there were lines outside the door on weekends. Her following grew larger and more fanatical when, in 1994, she moved her base of operations to the Green Mill, the north side club that is the nerve center of the indigenous Chicago jazz scene.
Barber's first live recording. This one followed a couple of years of touring with the quartet featured. This band was receiving rave reviews wherever it appeared and this record, a "companion" piece to modern cool, captures the band's infectious live vibe.
Highlights include Barber's groovy version of Sonny & Cher's "The Beat Goes On" and her outspoken statement on the jazz scene, "If This Isn't Jazz?"
Musicians: Patricia Barber, piano, vocal, Hammond B-3; Michael Arnopol, bass; John McLean, guitar; Eric Montzka, drums/percussion; Ruben P. Alvarez, percussion; Jason Narducy, guest vocal (5).