‘Smash’ is the debut project from Patricia Barber on the Concord Jazz Music Group. Patricia is known as a pianist, vocalist and an innovative composer. With a new band and a dozen new compositions, she continues her two-decade crusade to retrieve the ground that jazz musicians long ago ceded to pop and rock: the realm of the intelligent and committed singer-songwriter, tackling even familiar subjects (like love and loss) with a nuance and depth beyond the limits of the Great American Songbook. ‘Smash’ is set to be in stores January 22, 2013 in all-digital and physical outlets.
Fans will be especially glad to know that ‘Smash’ reunites Barber with her long-time recording engineer Jim Anderson (with whom she first worked in 1994, on her Premonition Records debut Café Blue.) Anderson – who is Professor of Recorded Music at New York University’s Tisch School for of the Arts – has again captured Barber’s music with the clarity and presence that led Stereophile Magazine to label Café Blue a “Record To Die For.” HDTracks and Mastered for iTunes versions of ‘Smash’ are also available.
After her long association with Premonition and then Blue Note Records, Barber self-released her two most recent albums – recorded at Chicago’s legendary Green Mill, her weekly showcase for more than two decades – and had no plans to sign with anyone else at this point in her career.
“I didn’t have a contract, or even a recording in mind,” Patricia states. “I assumed that when I had a group of ten or so new songs I would probably put it out myself.”
Halfway through this process, Barber received an offer from Concord, which she promptly turned down: “I was really enjoying the freedom of not having a label, especially in this environment, and just doing what I always do – trying to advance myself musically, practicing a lot, and locking in on what I consider a really good band.”
But the persistence of Concord producer Nick Phillips won out. “He came to see me, and he reminded me so much of Bruce Lundvall,” Barber recalls, referring to the former Blue Note president with whom she worked closely. “I had been grieving the loss of that professional relationship. And then Nick mentioned that he has great respect and admiration for Bruce. So we hit it off personally, and that’s what it takes for me.”
Born in the Chicago suburbs, Patricia came by music naturally. Her father was Floyd “Shim” Barber, a saxophonist who had worked with Glenn Miller’s orchestra, and the instrument beguiled young Patricia: “When he played the saxophone around the house, I’d put my hand in the bell to feel the music.” She began playing classical piano at the age of 6, but by the time she had graduated high school – in South Sioux City, Iowa, where the family had moved in the mid-60s, following her father’s death – Barber had foresworn jazz entirely. “It was hanging over my head the whole time,” she recalled years later. “But I thought that becoming a jazz musician was such a stupid thing for a woman to do – for a smart woman to do – that I tried to resist it.”
For more information on Patricia Barber, please visit: http://www.patriciabarber.com/