Listening Session: Patricia Barber
By Larry Appelbaum
I was scheduled to do a Before & After piece for JazzTimes with the Chicago pianist, vocalist and songwriter Patricia Barber at the Portland Jazz Festival in Feb. of 2009. At the last minute, she told me that she wanted to save her voice for her performance and asked if she could give her responses to the recordings on her laptop instead of speaking. We tried but it didn’t quite work for the magazine, so this piece never ran. As with her music, Barber’s responses are clever, unguarded and insightful. She had recently released her Cole Porter record, which is one reason I sprinkled some Porter songs throughout.
1. Shirley Horn
“You Won’t Forget Me” (from You Won’t Forget Me, Verve). Horn, vocal; Miles Davis, trumpet; Charles Ables, bass; Steve Williams, drums. Recorded in 1990.
Before: It sounds like Miles,…it IS Miles but with Shirley Horn. I think they did a session together. It’s beautiful . The drum stick on the snare sounds like maybe a producer’s decision. Who’s the drummer? Who produced this CD?
After: Shirley Horn is one of my biggest influences so I know her voice well. I’ve also traded sets with her at the North Seat Jazz Festival many, many times and I would go out into the audience to listen. I love her economy of phrasing, her confidence. Its a piano player’s confidence…..the singer-pianists don’t sing too much.