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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 18 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 42
Patricia Barber smashes her way to Seattle
Arts & Entertainment
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Patricia Barber smashes her way to Seattle

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

PATRICIA BARBER
TOWN HALL
October 26


If you haven't listened to Patricia Barber before, you're missing out on one of the most distinct musicians of today's jazz scene. Combining classical and jazz with unique and personal touches, she's an original, for sure. Barber, who is openly Gay, released a new album in 2013 titled Smash, and she'll familiarize Seattle fans with it when she appears October 26 at Town Hall, as part of this year's Earshot Jazz Festival. For tickets, go to www.townhallseattle.org.

I spoke with the artist via telephone this week, and this is what Patricia Barber had to say inside The Music Lounge.

Albert Rodriguez: What do you remember about Seattle from your previous performances?

Patricia Barber: Well, Seattle does have a very specific meaning for me because my best friend from college lives there. So that's what I think of when I think of Seattle. But I've had a bunch of different kinds of performances in Seattle. I played a little club that was part of Earshot Jazz Festival, then I played at the Art Institute, I think, which was one of my favorite gigs there. I played Jazz Alley and a kind of rock club, but I've always had wonderful times in Seattle. It's a beautiful city - the waterfront, the Market.

Rodriguez: Will you be performing with a full band, or will it be a solo appearance?

Barber: It's a quartet. In fact, I'm using a woman saxophonist from Seattle, Kate Olson.

Rodriguez: How many songs from the new album have you rehearsed for this tour, this performance?

Barber: We'll do quite a bit of new material from Smash.

Rodriguez: As well as music from your previous albums?

Barber: Yes, that and some standards. Really, I never know what I'm going to feel like doing and I just sort of do what I feel like, but I do feel like doing a lot of material from Smash.

Rodriguez: Does the set list change from city to city?

Barber: Oh, sure. Sometimes I get into something, but I don't want to get bored or bore the band, so I do tend to change things up.

Rodriguez: Does a certain city, like Seattle vs. New York, or the weather, or the political climate ever factor into the set list?

Barber: Yeah, the political climate sometimes has me pulling out some of my more political songs. I just pulled out my re-working of 'You're the Top,' which has Obama in it, the other night.

Rodriguez: When you're composing new music, do the lyrics or music come first?

Barber: It's never so simple. I wish there were a formula. It's one way sometimes, the other way sometimes. It's a combination of the two things - they kind of grow organically together.

Rodriguez: For anyone that hasn't seen you in concert, do you interact with the audience?

Barber: Not very much. I'm not very chatty, usually. I have stage fright. In fact, I'm going through a real serious bout of it, so I'm pretty introverted and I can barely introduce the band about 40 minutes into the set. I have to concentrate very hard on the music itself, so that I don't think about the stage fright.

Rodriguez: You tour everywhere. With what's happening right now in Russia with the LGBT community, would you consider playing there, if asked to?

Barber: Probably not. It was hard there, anyway, not recently, and not for being Gay but it's a kind of scary place. The people in Russia are wonderful, the audiences were wonderful, the concerts were packed. To get out of the airport, though, if you lose your papers, it's so scary. So now it's even scarier.

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Patricia Barber smashes her way to Seattle
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