(Blue Note – 2001)
by S. H. Watkins, Sr.
This CD evokes the feelings and ambience of being in a Nightclub. During her 20-year, six-album career vocalist / pianist Patricia Barber has gained an ever-growing amount of critical and commercial acclaim, and this CD shows why. Once again featuring all-star accompaniment from bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Adam Nussbaum, Nightclub strings together 12 standards from an artist that has made her bones using original material. Barber’s vocal phrasing, rhythm, and timbre give the songs new meaning, new interpretation (see “Autumn Leaves” or “Summer Samba”.)
Not to be overlooked here are Barber’s improvisational skills, which also enhance the emotion and feeling of each track (see “So In Love” or “Bye Bye Blackbird”). Patricia plays not just with her fingers but with her heart because the music is in her blood…she is the daughter of Glenn Miller Orchestra saxophonist Floyd “Shim” Barber. Being a dark-haired diva / pianist / vocalist, the comparisons to Diana Krall are inevitable, but the styles are miles apart. It is a credit to Patricia Barber’s talents that she’s willing to take on a CD of this nature rather than riding on the commercial success (and stylings) of other mainstream artists. Thoroughly enjoyable.