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Patricia Barber - Mythologies (2006) Retail CD
Adult Alternative Pop/ Rock
Is it still art when you can fingerpop to it? Finally, it's arrived. In 2003 jazz songwriter, pianist, and bandleader Patricia Barber received a Guggenheim fellowship to create a song cycle based on Ovid's Metamorphoses. Barber is that rare kind of jazz artist — she appeals to non-jazz fans. She's as ambitious as they get and her poetic, sometimes brainy compositions sit well with sophisticated pop audiences everywhere. On Mythologies, Barber has taken the heart of Ovid's text (he was a Roman poet doing his own intertextual take on Greek mythology) and created 11 pieces, each based on onemore… character in his cycle. She's in turn written a different piece — in style, linguistic content, and feel — for each character she was drawn to. Much like the poet, philosopher, and playwright Anne Carson, Barber uses the present vernacular to recontextualize these seemingly eternal characters in the bedrock of jazz and her own brand of sophisticated and literary pop; she places Ovid's poems where they belong — in song. Barber is accompanied by her crack band — guitarist Neal Alger, bassist Michael Arnopol, and drummer Eric Montzka — and employs as many guests as it takes to get her songs across. This isn't the gutting of ancient high culture; it's the presentation of it as something instructive, personal, and revelatory in the inner life of the songwriter. Musically, beginning with the spacious yet knotty piano notes that usher in "The Moon," Barber takes Ovid's characters, sets their context in the present vernacular (mostly), and allows them to manifest the faces of those we know, have known, or have been: "With whitecake/On my face/The actress backstage/Contemplates/Laying a universal egg/Still a broken heart/Is a broken heart...." The stillness of the moon witnesses all, and we enact our life scenarios under it, whether true or false. Alger underscores the vocal lines with small single-line runs and effects, as does the near constant bass of Arnopol. When the skittering hip-hop drums kick in after the verse ends, the band takes off, cracks the groove open (Barber's lower-register notes usher in the blues and then arpeggiates out of them), and works it. ... Read More...
- Patricia Barber - Mythologies (2006) Retail CD
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- 27/02/10 by ssvril
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