Barber was born in Chicago, Illinois, but was raised in South Sioux City, Nebraska by parents who were both professional musicians as well. Her father, 'Floyd "Slim" Barber' is actually a former member of the great 'Glenn Miller's' band.
For more than two decades, Barber, based in Chicago, has led her own band, and released a series of highly acclaimed, strikingly singular albums dating back to 1992's break out hit "Distortion Of Love", which featured her rendition of 'Smoky Robinson's pop hit "My Girl".
No one else was recording contemporary pop tunes in a jazz-like vein until then! "I feel like a postmodern pioneer", says Barber. "Back then the old distinctions between popular music and jazz were falling away, and the key hurdle was convincing listeners that therewas life...after the era of iconic stars like 'Sarah Vaughan', 'Peggy Lee', 'Carmen McRae', and 'Ella Fitzgerald', she explains.
"In spite of lamenting the loss of Sarah, Peggy, Carmen, and Ella, and despite people simply ignoring change and wanting to own the music, it refused to be contained....and found its way, like water coursing through rocks!"
As Barber continued cutting albums throughout the '90's and into the next millennium, she also became known for writing intelligent, yet, sometimes complex songs with witty lyrics. Her 2006 release called "Mythologies" provides one of the best examples of this style.
It is a set of songs based on 'Ovid's Metamorphoses'. "Ovid" was a Roman poet who, in these verses, describes the history of the world from creation to the reign of Julius Caesar. Believe it or not, this mythico-historic jazz album won brilliant reviews from 'Jazz Times' and "Down Beat" magazines, calling it intellectually stimulating,and thus declaring Barber the most interesting singer-songwriter-pianist on the American jazz scene!
She would go on to release two more albums, including 2008's "The Cole Porter Mix', a collection of her unique takes on the classic 'Cole Porter Songbook'. "Porter has always been my songwriting idol!" I love his music, and have been singing his songs since I was a kid", says Barber.
With this latest mix of songs, Barber adds just one more remarkable chapter to a career that continues to explore intriguing, improvisational terrain. Indeed, Patricia Barber has become the vanguardof female vocalists and instrumentalists!
Thanks, and check out Patricia Barber on "Streetwise Radio's"Jazz Cafe!