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Smash (Awaiting Repress)Pianist's First New Studio Album in More Than Four Years Masterfully Unites Harmony and Melody Via Uncommon Delicacy, Tonal Intimacy
Barber Defies Expectations, Channels Melancholic Experiences Into Expressionistic Poetry and Attractive Arrangements
Instant Audiophile Classic: Mobile Fidelity's 180g 2LP Set Renders Atmospherics, Whisper-Soft Transients, Acoustic Dimensions, and Images With Utmost Detail and Precision
"No One Else Writes or Sounds Like This"-Chicago Tribune
Accessible and complicated, alluring and challenging, sensuous and liberating, Patricia Barber's Smash once and for all confirms the pianist/singer exists in an elevated artistic plane reached by none of her generational peers. Four years in the making, and the beloved musician's first studio record since 2008, her Concord Records debut defies expectations and crystallizes her status as a preeminent songwriter. Informed by personal episodes of significant loss and yearning, the album masterfully unites harmony and melody via uncommon delicacy, tonal intimacy, and ethereal surrealism. It will likely stand as 2013's finest jazz effort, an instant classic.
Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed at RTI, Mobile Fidelity's 180g 2LP possesses audiophile-quality fidelity and dynamic transparency unmatched by the commercially released CD. Akin to the reissue label's previous Barber releases, many of which are long out-of-print and command huge sums on the collector's market, Smash brings the singer and her band into your listening room, converting it into a recreation of the stage at Chicago's Green Mill, Barber's home base. Sonic characteristics crucial to Barber's sophisticated compositions-atmospherics, decay, whisper-soft transients, mood, acoustic dimensions, precise imaging-are rendered with utmost detail, balance, and accuracy. All else that's required for your trip to the Green Mill is a stereo and glass of chardonnay.
Punctuated by deft instrumental passages and mysterious verses, Smash marks a triumphant return for Barber after she endured a series of melancholic episodes, including the death of her mother and four other people close to her. In addition, a disagreement with business associate cost her untold amount of money. She also broke away from Blue Note after its president stepped down from his position. Barber channels these painful, often-angry experiences and transitional periods into expressionistic poetry on Smash, transferring her emotions to arrangements that mirror the deep, meaningful cycle of human life and death.
Backed by a brilliant trio, Barber opts for her now-signature subdued methods, allowing each syllable to linger, every note to hover before fading, each rhythmic line to develop unique relationships with the groove. Chicago Tribune jazz critic Howard Reich wrote in his rave review of Smash: "No one else writes or sounds like this, in other words, because no one else approaches the art of singing, songwriting, and piano playing with Barber's particular interests. The liquidity of her vocals, the sharp edge of her jazz pianism, and the quirkiness of her original songs cannot be imitated and remain a work in progress."
These aspects, and more, are immediately apparent on Smash, arguably the boldest and most satisfying set of the reclusive talent's career. Her famously seductive and breathy vocals, supple right-hand runs, and nuanced harmonics simultaneously engage, hypnotize, and tempt. Her mates follow suit with aptly sculpted bass lines, taut percussion, and suggestive guitar fills. A model of economical succinctness, Smash takes risks, harbors intensity, and utilizes silences to communicate. It represents a new level for 21st century jazz, and there's no way to better way to experience it and immerse yourself in its powers than via Mobile Fidelity's superb edition.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Code Cool
2. The Wind Song
6. Spring Song
7. Devil's Food
9. The Swim
11. The Storyteller
12. Missing$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Mythologies (Awaiting Repress)A singular jazz work, Patricia Barber's groundbreaking Mythologies is the result of the pianist becoming the only singer-songwriter to ever win a Guggenheim Fellowship. Allowed the time to craft a sophisticated album, the ambitious 2006 set is without peer in any musical genre. A cycle based on Greek mythology and Ovid's Metamorphoses, Mythologies brings each of the eleven characters from Ovid's play to life in song.
Accompanied by guitarist Michael Alger, bassist Michael Arnapol, and drummer Eric Montzka, and assisted by a few special guest background vocalists--including a children's choir--Barber has turned in one of the first legitimate masterworks of the new century.
When Patricia Barber's Mythologies (Blue Note Records) appears in stores on Tuesday, listeners will hear a piece of music with no apparent model in jazz of the 20th Century (or the 21st). For though classically tinged jazz suites date back to at least Duke Ellington's Black, Brown and Beige (1943) and extend to epic works such as Charles Mingus' posthumously premiered Epitaph (1989) and Wynton Marsalis' Pulitzer Prize-winning Blood on the Fields (1997), Mythologies stands apart from such behemoths.
Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune, August 2006
Lyrically addressing lovestruck emotions, insomnia, desires, risks, and more, Barber habitually turns conventions on their head. She matches her sonnets, double entendres, and fascinating narratives with music that's at once seductive, sad, beautiful, and powerful. Intended to be listened to from start to finish, Mythologies comes off as a sonic cycle that traces life and death in an engrossingly imaginative fashion that's on par with the classic Greek influences.
Half-speed mastered from the original master tapes, Mobile Fidelity's numbered limited-edition 180-gram 2-LP set of Mythologies boasts astounding sonics. Every vocal delicacy and breathy aspect of Barber's singing is fully audible, balanced, and gorgeously textured. Instrumental decay and acoustic details are suspended against a pitch-black background. Vocal jazz records don't get better than this! Don't settle for the standard CD version, which is robbed of much of the presence, richness, and atmosphere.
This title is not eligible for discount.1 The Moon
5 Icarus (for Nina Simone)
6 Orpheus/ Sonnet
9 Whiteworld/ Oedipus
11 The Hours$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
A Distortion Of Love (Awaiting Repress)A Distortion of Love on Numbered Limited Edition 180 Gram LP from Mobile Fidelity
Acclaimed Pianist/Singer's Oft-Neglected 1992 Sophomore Effort Teems With Poetic Enterprise and Intrepid Originality
Smooth, Transparent Sonics Worthy of an Intimate Venue: One of Only Two Barber Albums to Never Have Been Reissued-Until Now
Audiophile Favorite Steams Up Mirrors With Enchanting Melodies, Breathy Vocals, Daring Originality
Patricia Barber's origins are commonly associated with 1994's CafÉ Blue and the follow-up, 1998's Modern Cool. Both quickly established the singer/pianist as an immediate audiophile favorite whose rare combination of astute instrumental performance, daring originality, poetic enterprise, intrepid vocals, and sculpted production announced her as an artist that both takes immense care in her music as well as in her sound. While largely unknown to many, 1992's diverse A Distortion of Love signaled the beginning of Barber's unfettered creativity.
Half-speed mastered from the original master tapes and pressed at RTI, Mobile Fidelity's numbered, limited-edition 180 gram LP of the Chicagoan's sophomore album features the similar wowing detail and perspective-altering clarity offered on the reissue label's celebrated versions of Mythologies, The Cole Porter Mix, and the now out-of-print and extremely sought-after CafÉ Blue, Modern Cool, Companion, and Nightclub.
Such is the attention brought to Barber's tastefully reverb-assisted singing, the quartet's stripped-down arrangements, the grand piano's resonance, the background finger snaps, and the astounding transparency of every note and breath uttered in the studio. Smoothness, balance, and neutrality abound. Through and through, this is an audiophile delight.
While national acclaim wouldn't come to Barber until the mid-90s, it wasn't because she didn't provide notice of her monumental talent and MacArthur Grant-worthy inventiveness. On A Distortion of Love, her individuality manifests on a surprisingly eerie rendition of the standard "Summertime" and subsequent "Subway Station No. 5," a lengthy piece adorned with atmospheric nervousness, tonal shifts, and contrapuntal movements that ultimately lead into a swinging theme.
Barber, guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel, bassist Marc Johnson, and percussionist Adam Nussbaum achieve like-minded heights on an improvised and clever read of the Temptations' "My Girl." Here, and again especially on the aptly titled "You Stepped Out of a Dream," Barber's textured vocals seemingly float on a jet-black plain, emanating as if her lips and mouth are just feet away, the slap of the acoustic bass and patter of the drums responding in kind to her expressiveness. Whether you're familiar with this album, a longtime Barber fan, or just coming to her for the first time, Mobile Fidelity's pressing of this record will please even the sternest critics of vocal jazz.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Summertime
2. Subway Station No. 5
3. You Stepped Out of a Dream
4. Parts Parallels
5. Or Not To Be
6. Yellow Car
7. Yet Another In a Long Series of Yellow Cars
8. I Never Went Away
9. My Girl
10. Be Myself$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Esther (Out Of Stock)Available for the first time on super-silent 200-gram vinyl pressed at Quality Record Pressings!
Mastered by Doug Sax
If you like the sweet voice of Ayako Hosokawa, the sexy voice of Mari Nakamoto, the unique voice of Patricia Barber and the tender voice of Jacintha, then you must listen to Esther. Ofarim, an Israeli female vocalist, was in the 1970's a part of the duo Esther and Abi Ofarim and later she persued her career as a solo artist. Ofarim put out records in several styles throughout her career, including folk music (of Israel and other cultures and countries), folk-rock, novelty, and orchestrated folk-pop-classical-rock in the style of Judy Collins. Ofarim often released records in English, with virtually no trace of an Israeli accent, and also performed and recorded for a while with her one-time husband Abi.
Although not too well-known to the English-speaking audience (particularly in the United States), Ofarim has impinged on the pop and rock consciousness from time to time. In 1968, she had a British number one hit (also a big seller in other countries, though not in the U.S.) with the novelty Cinderella Rockafella, recorded as part of a duo with husband Abi; Esther and Abi had another British hit, One More Dance, later that year.1. Kinderspiele
3. El Rey Nimrod
4. Hayu Leiloth
5. Nique Nac No Must
6. Una Matica De Ruda
7. La Vezina Catina
8. Tziyunyanai Haderech
9. La Scillitana
10. Leil Galil
12. Pavane$59.99200 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Temporarily out of stock