Patricia Barber

Patricia Barber

By Alex Teitz

The name Patricia Barber may be new to many, and familiar to some. Her velvety jazz vocals have lived in Chicago for many years. Barber learned from family and the masters in such Chicago Blues Clubs as the Green Mill Jazz Club. Her latest CD Nightclubseeks to recreate that feel of smoke and jazz. For more information visit

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?  Lyrically & Musically? 

PB: If I had one technique, I would patent it and make millions on the technique rather than the music.

FEMMUSIC: Who have been your mentors? 

PB: Bill Evans, Elis Regina, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart, Sheila Jordan, Shirley Horn, Jackie Terrasson

FEMMUSIC: With Nightclub I understand you were trying to duplicate the sound of performing in a Nightclub. What attraction does live performance bring for you versus studio work?

PB: A “live” performance has more a sense of walking on an emotional tightrope…without a net.  It gives the performance an immediacy and sincerity that second guessing in the studio can attenuate.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Nightclub?

PB: The biggest challenge was the sheer fatigue factor in being the singer, the pianist, the arranger, and the producer.

FEMMUSIC: What was the best experience making Nightclub?

PB: As a producer, I’m happy about the integral sound of the music..the lack of cheap tricks, the subtlety of the expression by all the musicians.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry? 

PB: Perhaps less dominance by the few channels within the marketplace, but I think the internet is solving this problem.

FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?

PB: not to my knowledge.  if anything, I’ve probably been given more work because women are a statistical anomaly as instrumentalists and therefore the marketplace provides more demand for them.

FEMMUSIC: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

PB: You have two choices:  1.) find another profession with more security, benefits, disability, normal social relationships, health insurance, easy hours.  2.) if you must play the role of an artist, and since you’re risking everything else, never compromise your art.

January 1st, 2001