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Patricia Barber

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Patricia Barber
Background information
Born (1955-11-08) November 8, 1955 (age 68)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation(s)Songwriter, jazz singer, pianist, composer
Instrument(s)Voice, piano
Years active1989-present
LabelsArtistShare, Blue Note, Premonition, Concord, Impex, Floyd, Antilles
WebsiteOfficial site

Patricia Barber (born November 8, 1955) is an American songwriter, composer, singer, and pianist.


Barber's father Floyd was a jazz saxophonist who played with Bud Freeman and Glenn Miller.[1] She played saxophone and piano from a young age, sang in musicals in high school, and studied piano at the University of Iowa in the early 1970s.[1] From there Barber went to Chicago and began performing regularly in bars and clubs.[1] She won a Guggenheim Fellowship in music composition in March 2003, an unusual accomplishment for someone working in the field of popular songwriting.[2] The Guggenheim allowed her to devote time to a song cycle based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses.[1] She is married to musicologist Martha Feldman.[3]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • She was given a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 in the field of Creative Arts – Music Composition.[4]
  • She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019.[5]


An asterisk (*) indicates that the year is that of release.

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
1989* Split Floyd Trio, with Michael Arnopol (bass), Mark Walker (drums)
1991 A Distortion of Love Antilles With Wolfgang Muthspiel (guitar), Marc Johnson (bass), Adam Nussbaum (drums, percussion, finger snaps), Carla White and Big Kahuna (finger snaps)
1994 Café Blue Premonition With John McLean (guitar), Michael Arnopol (bass), Mark Walker (drums, percussion)
1998 Modern Cool Premonition With John McLean (guitar), Michael Arnopol (bass), Mark Walker (drums, percussion), Dave Douglas (trumpet), Jeff Stitely (udu), Choral Thunder Vocal Choir
1999 Companion Premonition With John McLean (guitar), Michael Arnopol (bass), Eric Montzka (drums, percussion), Ruben P. Alvarez (percussion); Jason Narducy (vocals) added on one track
2000* Nightclub Premonition/Blue Note With Marc Johnson and Michael Arnopol (bass; separately), Adam Nussbaum and Adam Cruz (drums; separately), Charlie Hunter (guitar)
2002* Verse Premonition/Blue Note Most tracks quartet, with Dave Douglas (trumpet), Neal Alger (guitar), Michael Arnopol (bass), Joey Baron (drums); one track quartet with Eric Montzka (drums) replacing Baron; one track with Cliff Colnot String Ensemble added
2004* Live: A Fortnight in France Blue Note Quartet, with Neal Alger (guitar), Michael Arnapol (bass), Eric Montzka (drums)
2006* Mythologies Blue Note Most tracks quartet, with Neal Alger (guitar), Michael Arnapol (bass), Eric Montzka (drums); some tracks with Jim Gailloreto (sax) added; some tracks with various vocalists added
2008* The Cole Porter Mix Blue Note Most tracks quartet, with Neal Alger (guitar), Michael Arnopol (bass), Eric Montzka (drums, percussion); some tracks quintet, with Chris Potter (tenor sax) added; some tracks quartet with Alger (guitar), Arnopol (bass), Nate Smith (drums, percussion)
2010 Live in Concert Floyd Duo, with Kenny Werner (piano); in concert
2013* Smash Concord Jazz
2019 Higher ArtistShare Recording of song cycle "Angels, Birds and I…"
2021 Clique Impex Records A product of the same recording sessions as her 2019 album Higher.



  1. ^ a b c d Yanow, Scott (2008). The Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide. Backbeat. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-87930-825-4. LCCN 2008039171. OCLC 767843314. OL 8128605M.
  2. ^ "Barber Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship". Downbeat. Maher Publications. April 28, 2003. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  3. ^ Velez, Andrew (November 7, 2000). "Totally Jazzed". The Advocate: 81–82.
  4. ^ "Barber Awarded Fellowship by Guggenheim Foundation in 2003". gf.org. Archived from the original on May 30, 2011. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
  5. ^ "2019 Fellows and International Honorary Members with their affiliations at the time of election". members.amacad.org. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  6. ^ "Patricia Barber | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  7. ^ "Patricia Barber | The Higher Project". ArtistShare. Retrieved January 18, 2019.

External links[edit]