Patricia Barber | The Cole Porter Mix

Blue Note
By JON GARELICK  |  September 16, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
On this Porter “mix,” pianist/singer/songwriter Barber pulls back just a bit from the audacious ambition of 2006’s Guggenheim-funded Mythologies (based on Ovid, no less). But she’s still jazz’s Dark Lady, plying her cool alto on the master’s sardonic, bitter nuances, even updating some of the lyrics of “You’re the Top” (“You’re the Kevlar armor/On the cop”). She contributes three originals that show her own lyrics to be on a par with Porter’s (“I wait for late afternoon and you/The industrious bunch/Through breakfast and lunch/Parlay a hedge-fund hunch or two”) and offers plenty of musical variety with her long-time band, altering some of Porter’s chords, mixing in bossa and samba with rock and swing. Guitarist Neal Alger flexes the sharply articulated ping of his acoustic on several tunes and a bit of dirty-rock electric on “Miss Otis Regrets.” Tenor-sax kingpin Chris Potter tears up “In the Still of the Night” on a way-out Trane-ish coda with drummer Eric Montzka. Barber’s piano chops would stand her in good stead if she ever lost her voice, and this is compelling Porter, but her own writing is still what puts her a cut above the rest of the current field of singing jazz musicians.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Chris Potter, Otis Regrets, Mikko Lindstrom,  More more >
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