Pi­anist smashes con­ven­tion on lat­est al­bum

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - CHRIS SMITH

PA­TRI­CIA Bar­ber is an in­ven­tive singer, song­writer and pi­anist, whose record­ings and per­for­mances ease lis­ten­ers away from the main­stream, yet she re­mains grounded in the jazz stan­dards.

“I think au­di­ences ap­pre­ci­ate a dif­fer­ent ver­sion of stan­dards,” the singer says in an in­ter­view from her Chicago home.

Bar­ber, who per­forms June 18 at the TD Win­nipeg In­ter­na­tional Jazz Fes­ti­val lead­ing a quar­tet, will per­form new ma­te­rial from her re­cent CD re­lease, Smash, but “I love stan­dards,” she adds.

“My songs have more to do with stan­dards than you think,” she says, “but if chan­nelled through me, it all sounds like me.”

Bar­ber will be ac­com­pa­nied in Win­nipeg by gui­tarist Dave Miller, bassist Pa­trick Mulc­ahy and drum­mer Jon Deit­e­myer.

The singer and pi­anist main­tains a reg­u­lar Mon­day night gig at Chicago’s Green Mill Jazz Club when­ever she is in town. And Chicago is a good place to look for bright, younger mu­si­cians, she says.

“Chicago has a rich cul­ture of mu­si­cians who are com­ing up,” she says. “I have three bass play­ers, each as good as the other.”

Her new record­ing Smash marks a re­turn to a ma­jor label for Bar­ber. She says she was con­tent be­ing in­de­pen­dent af­ter she sought a re­lease from the Blue Note label, but Con­cord Mu­sic came call­ing and “I said ‘Let’s do one.’”

Smash, a 12-tune disc, her 12th, is an­other great Bar­ber record­ing.

The theme is lost love and Bar­ber’s lyrics and voice make it real. In the ti­tle track when she sings, “This is the sound / of a heart break­ing” over ten­der pi­ano and bass, you know it’s true. But just to be sure, it’s fol­lowed by a scream­ing gui­tar solo that ap­prox­i­mates a heart rend­ing.

Bar­ber has a place of her own in jazz singing: no one matches her lyrics, the melodies she writes to match those lyrics, or her mu­si­cal in­ven­tive­ness.

Bar­ber will start a se­ries of Euro- pean dates next week­end in Por­tu­gal that will see her quar­tet visit Ger­many, Turkey, The Nether­lands and Nor­way un­til late May.

Af­ter June con­certs in the United States and Canada, she’ll take July and Au­gust off. “I don’t like to be in Euro­pean fes­ti­vals when it’s hot,” she says. She likes to swim and tend her large gar­den, which her fam­ily eats from most of the year.

She has a small apart­ment in Chicago and a home on 17 acres of mostly wet­lands for­est with two acres fenced off as a large gar­den.

The Pa­tri­cia Bar­ber Quar­tet per­forms June 18 at the West End Cul­tural Cen­tre. Tick­ets are $28. Other main­stage shows in­clude: Ru­dresh Ma­han­thappa’s Ga­mak, June 17, WECC; Bet­tye Lavette, June 19, Bur­ton Cum­mings Theatre; Preser­va­tion Hall Jazz Band, June 20, the Burt; Jane Mon­heit, June 21, the Burt; The Roots, June 22, Cen­ten­nial Con­cert Hall; Court­ney Pine, June 22, WECC; and Ge­orge Ben­son, June 23, the Burt.

Tick­ets for the TD Win­nipeg In­ter- national Jazz Fes­ti­val, which runs June 13-23, are avail­able at jaz­zwin­nipeg. com, 204-989-4656 and at the Jazz Win­nipeg of­fice (007-100 Arthur St.). Tick­ets for Bur­ton Cum­mings Theatre and Cen­ten­nial Con­cert Hall shows are also avail­able at Tick­et­mas­ter.

Ice­land’s Björn Thoroddsen has put to­gether six guitarists for Guitarama, Satur­day, May 11, 8 p.m., at the Park Theatre as part of Jazz Win­nipeg’s Nu Sounds se­ries.

Thoroddsen, who has be­come a favourite through his vis­its here, and lo­cal guitarists Greg Lowe, Larry Roy, Tim But­ler, Chet Breau and Ariel Posen will bend strings in a cel­e­bra­tion of all styles of play­ing.

They will be backed by bassist Gilles Fournier and drum­mer Eric Platz.

Tick­ets — $12 ad­vance / $15 at the door — are avail­able at jaz­zwin­nipeg. com, 204-989-4656 and at the Jazz Win­nipeg of­fice (007-100 Arthur St.) or the Park Theatre.

JIMMY KATZ PHOTO

Pa­tri­cia Bar­ber’s lat­est disc is called Smash, and its theme is lost love.

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