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 for Premonition, this one introduced her powerful quartet of the time featuring John McLean on guitar and Mark Walker on drums. This might be the classic Barber album in that it blends pop covers, jazz standards, and original material in a thoroughly unique and interesting way. That was not the norm in 1994 as it would be years later. This one also features Barber's first attempt at setting poetry to music with "Mourning Grace," a haunting Maya Angelou work.
Musicians: Patricia Barber, piano, vocal; Michael Arnopol, bass; John McLean, guitars; and Mark Walker, drums, percussion, body parts.