Album Review: CLIQUE (Patricia Barber on Impex Records)

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by Tony Frankel on August 4, 2021



Flying by at 45 minutes, Patricia Barber’s new album is everything I want when a great vocalist rethinks songs that have been covered over and over. Daring, rhythmic, warming, exciting, and immediately accessible, Clique (Impex Records August 6) has Barber completely reinventing a tracklist of tunes, including classics by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stevie Wonder, Lee Hazlewood, Lerner & Loewe, Thelonious Monk and more (9 tracks in all). Barber understands the poetry in the lyrics, and her band follows suit finding poetry in the music with extended sessions.. Prepare to hear a slowed-down “I Could Have Dance All Night” that makes you wanna sway with your lover like never before. This luscious album is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

“The harmonic language of jazz, as well as that of the Great American Songbook, is certainly rich — look how much has come out of it — but it’s circumscribed. I started wanting to hear something else,” Barber said.

Recorded, Mixed & Mastered in Digital eXtreme Definition 2.0 and 5.1, with Multi GRAMMY-Winner & Longtime Creative Partner Jim Anderson, Barber is backed by bassist Patrick Mulcahy and drummer Jon Deitemyer. Guitarist Neal Alger and saxophonist Jim Gailloretto also give extraordinary back-up.

After growing an international cult following, earning the first-ever Guggenheim Fellowship awarded to a non-classical songwriter, and becoming an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Barber offers a “silk, velvet, languid, warm” journey through music history as she “respects traditions, bends them to make her own points, and freshens them into something new,” as noted in the album liner notes by NPR’s Susan Stamberg.

photo by Jimmy Katz

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