When: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 • Where: Dakota • Who: Patricia Barber, piano; John McLean, guitar; Michael Arnopol, bass; Eric Montzka, drums
Hearing Patricia Barber play is not about tapping your feet and snapping your fingers and clinking your ice in your glass. It’s about paying attention and feeling reflective and sometimes rueful and sad. If you want jazz as entertainment, Barber is not your girl. She often seems removed from her audience, tonight more than usual. We learn after her set that her longtime sound man, tour manager, and friend Jay ten Hove died over Memorial Day weekend. On Barber's Web site, ten Hove is a member of the band.
Monk’s “Bemsha Swing” is rarely a solemn tune, but it is tonight, beginning with Arnopol’s thoughtful bass solo. The melody and chord changes are Monk but the rhythm and mood are Barber. Toward the end, it becomes Bach’s Two-Part Invention #1, a beautiful trio on piano, guitar, and drums. “But Not for Me” is haunting and spare. Barber’s original “Hunger” (from Mythologies) is a song with issues, toothy and wicked. (McLean wryly throws in a quote from “Salt Peanuts.”) There’s a dense instrumental that spends a lot of time on the piano’s lower keys, and an intriguing tune or two from her new CD, Cole Porter Mix, due out in September. (One sounds a bit like “My Way.”) An elegant “Jitterbug Waltz,” a sardonic “White World,” and, as an encore, a Barberesque “Norwegian Wood” that makes me forget all about John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
Visit the a/v page on Barber's Web site to see and hear her play.