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Live: A Fortnight in France
     

Live: A Fortnight in France

5.0 1
by Patricia Barber
 
It makes sense that Patricia Barber is both a Francophile and a celebrated performer in that country. The songs of this talented pianist and singer are always highly literate, at times political in nature and piercing in their personal honesty. From a musical standpoint, they are also superbly constructed, laced with originality and an ear for the unexpected. And

Overview

It makes sense that Patricia Barber is both a Francophile and a celebrated performer in that country. The songs of this talented pianist and singer are always highly literate, at times political in nature and piercing in their personal honesty. From a musical standpoint, they are also superbly constructed, laced with originality and an ear for the unexpected. And Barber, in her own cool, understated way, brings passion to everything she touches, from her own poetic songs to her imaginative interpretations of pop and classic standards (“Norwegian Wood,” “Call Me,” “Blue Prelude,” “Laura,” and “Witchcraft,” the latter a showcase for the adroit pianist's instrumental skills). The French audiences respond enthusiastically; they, of course, will take a song such as “Dansons la Gigue!,” in which Barber sets words by Paul Verlaine to her own music, readily to heart. Barber’s longtime band has established a hand-in-glove rapport with the leader; their own fine abilities as players, displayed throughout, constitute another factor in the success of this recording.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Since her beguiling 1991 debut, Distortion of Love, songwriter, pianist, and vocalist Patricia Barber has steadfastly remained true to her quirky, left-of-center jazz vision, which includes equal parts edgy pop and rock. Barber has a fluid, restlessly individualistic style on the piano; she can hold her own with anybody. Her songwriting comes from that particular space where the notes and rhythms begin to bleed into one another and come out jagged, sophisticated, and full of razored poetic wit and steely philosophical insight about the ironies of modern life. This set was recorded in three French cities, Paris, Metz, and La Rochelle. Utilizing her longstanding band (bassist Michael Arnopol, drummer Eric Montzka, and guitarist Neal Alger), Barber displays in spades the skill of this band to improvise, swing, and cut across musical lines on five originals and five covers. The disc features two new compositions. "Gotcha" is a steamy, nocturnal piece of jazzed-up pop with a killer seductive bassline by Arnopol. Lyrically, Barber evokes the humor and sophistication of Mose Allison, but takes it to a darker, stiletto-sharp edge. "White World" is a politically spiked, funky, futuristic jazz tune from her upcoming song cycle based on Ovid's Metamorphoses. There are two cuts from her 2002 outing, Verse, as well: the shimmering minor-key and erotically tinged drama of "Dansons la Gigue!," with lyrics by 19th century poet Paul Verlaine, and the silky and forlorn "Pieces." A fine pair of instrumentals are also featured in Barber's "Crash," with its deep groove and killer piano solo, and a near intoxicating read of the nugget "Witchcraft." Add to this a mournful and haunted take on Johnny Mercer's "Laura," the eternally elegant "Blue Prelude," and a finely elongated, loose read of "Norwegian Wood." The set ends with a cabaret version of the old Chris Montez pop classic "Call Me," which -- for all its camp -- comes off as a nice little bit of samba. Unlike most live records, this is a welcome chapter in the Barber book, with surprises, risky behavior, and top-flight musicianship.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/07/2004
Label:
Blue Note Records
UPC:
0724357821322
catalogNumber:
78213

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Patricia Barber   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals
Eric Montzka   Drums
Michael Arnopol   Bass,Bass Guitar
Neal Alger   Guitar
Eric Montzma   Drums

Technical Credits

John Lennon   Composer
Paul McCartney   Composer
Cy Coleman   Composer
Gordon Jenkins   Composer
Patricia Barber   Composer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
David Raksin   Composer
Joe Bishop   Composer
Jay Ten Hove   Engineer
Carolyn Leigh   Composer
Paul Verlaine   Text
Burton Yount   Art Direction
Phillip Harvey   Engineer
Nicolas Jaskowiak   Monitors

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Live: A Fortnight in France 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I chanced upon this CD under the most surprising of circumstances. I was in a taxi in New York City en route to visit my doctor and the taxi driver had beautiful jazz music on. I timidly asked whether it was the radio; he countered with a resilient no. He doesn't listen to jazz radio. He listens to Patricia Barber, one of the best jazz musicians alive. He showed me the cover of this CD and told me that she's one of the few people who are left in the jazz world that actually know what jazz is all about. And you know what, he's right. Barber is incredibly brilliant: her voice is magnificent and soothing, not jarring like other jazz musicians today. Her piano playing is exquisite. I now have this CD. I love it. It's perfect for unwinding at the end of the day with a glass of red wine and your significant other.