Patricia Barber's modern cool (Premonition Records, 1998) was the recording that made Barber an international jazz star. on the initial tour for this album, Barber played a four night stand at the Jazz Standard in New York where she was heard by Bruce Lundvall of Blue Note Records. This led to a string of Barber recordings for both Premonition and Blue Note, worldwide touring and unapologetic critical acclaim from which Barber never looked back. Audiophiles were well aware of Barber from her 1994 Premonition recording Café Blue. Sonically, modern cool copied the café blue playbook: same recording studio, engineer, and recording approach. Musically, Barber added trumpeter Dave Douglas to her stellar working band and showcased her original compositions more than on any previous recording. Like café blue, modern cool has been released in multiple formats, including 2013's Grammy winning Surround Sound edition. This 180-Gram, Double LP version is newly remastered by the legendary Doug Sax from the original analog mixes and is sure to be a strong addition to the Barber audiophile oeuvre.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I also own Nightclub and Companion, and they're both great, too, but I've been listening to this one quite a lot in the past two months or so, and it hasn't yet ceased to amaze me. I feel like I need to listen closely 5-10 more times to even begin to appreciate all the nuances. In my opinion, in 50 years we'll see Barber as one of the greats of our time. She is amazingly well rounded -- her voice, pianio playing, composition, arrangements and lyrics are all masterly. Her voice is lovely, her vocal phrasing and Monk-like toying with melody are extremely sophisticated, and unlike most singers who accompany themselves, her piano chops are with the best. Her dark, sardonic mood blends the best of classic blues and jazz with a contemporary approach that out-classes Cassandra Wilson. I'm most impressed on this album w/ her own compositions -- their enchanting lyricism and tight, clever modern melodies -- particularly Company, Let It Rain and Post Modern Blues. Well balanced w/ standards and...
When Patricia Barber can do so much more with a song than Krall does? In light of Krall's new CD garnering headlines, photo shoots, and talk, I thought it was time to give Barber the props she so richly deserves. This is the jazz vocal CD I reach for when I want something edgy, "push-the-envelope," and/or a bit unsettling---not just smooth (or "smooth"), slick, and overproduced. . . . "Touch of Trash," the opener, is a perfect example of that edgy, unsettling sound that she so naturally exudes. "Winter," with its 7/4 time signature, is one of those "this doesn't feel quite exactly right" kind of songs that challenges your brain not to relax too much. The use of e. e. cummings' poetry is very cool to me as a high school English teacher (I play this song to my juniors every year). She takes a song like "Light My Fire" and goes places with it that the Doors never intended (nor could have done). Her piano skills should not...
This album is incredible! Give it a spin--just try the on-line samples here at Amazon. You'll be hooked in within two bars of "Touch of Trash." The poetry's inventive, the music sensuous, ambiguous, always dancing from admiration to competition. Then spin another track--it'll be totally different, equally compelling, addictive. This album has been #1 on my "Desert Island List" since I bought it several years ago. Why? (1) Because it's so good, I can't get enough of it, and yet (2) because it's so intricate, I find new things every time I listen, and most of all (3) because even after practically wearing it out, there are new questions, things I'm not sure I fully understand and appreciate. You'll love it in two bars. You'll still be learning it in two decades!
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