Patricia Barber, born in a suburb of Chicago, was the daughter of a professional saxophone-playing father and an amateur blues-singing mother. She studied classical piano and psychology at university and, after graduating in 1979, she moved to Chicago and began her career as a jazz musician.
A "pure dark whisper straight up from the soul."
Track: Let It Rain (P. Barber)
Album: Companion (1999)
Label: Premonition Records
Appears on: DALI CD Vol. 1
In 1984, Patricia Barber landed the gig that launched her career, playing five nights a week at the Gold Star Sardine Bar in Chicago. In 1993, she moved her base of operations to the Green Mill, the north side club, a hotspot in the Chicago jazz scene.
Her major-label debut was A Distortion Of Love in 1992. But for most of her current audience, it all began with Café Blue in 1994. Featuring Barber's band with Michael Arnopol on bass and John McLean on guitar, it also introduced 'the Barber voice', a voice one critic described as a 'pure dark whisper straight up from the soul'. Café Blue was awarded Stereophile magazine's sought-after 'Record To Die For' award.
Modern Cool came three and a half years later, in 1998, and featured Barber's working band, which now included trumpeter Dave Douglas.
Modern Cool yielded yet another Stereophile 'Record To Die For' award. It was after the success of Modern Cool that Patricia was able to launch her first tour, playing in Los Angeles, New York, San Fransisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Seattle, New Orleans, Buffalo, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto.
Companion appeared in 1999, and was Patrica's fifth recording. It was also her first live recording, made at the Green Mill in Chicago. Companion won her Stereophile's 'Recording of the Month'. Building on the success of this album, Barber set out on an international tour playing in Canada, France, Germany, Spain, England and Italy.
When listening to DALI CD Vol. 1, you've likely noticed that we have included more blues artists than other genres. It's not just because we like the blues, but mainly because there are so many good musicians and good recordings in this genre. Patricia Barber is a legend in her own right. On this live recording, she and guitarist John McClean get intimate with each other, the audience and you, the listener.