Patricia Barber - Higher (2LP, 45RPM) - AudioSoundMusic
Patricia Barber - Higher (2LP, 45RPM) - AudioSoundMusic
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Patricia Barber - Higher (2LP, 45RPM) - AudioSoundMusic
Patricia Barber - Higher (2LP, 45RPM) - AudioSoundMusic

Patricia Barber - Higher (2LP, 45RPM)

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Includes 4 bonus tracks available on vinyl for the fist time


Piano, Vocals – Patricia Barber [click here to see more vinyl featuring Patricia Barber]

Vocals - Katherine Werbiansky (D3)

Bass – Patrick Mulcahy

Drums – Jon Deitemyer

Soprano Vocals – Katherine Werbiansky

Tenor Saxophone – Jim Gailloreto

Written by Patricia Barber (A1 to C2, D3)

Music by Woody Herman (C3), Dave Brubeck (D1), Sammy Fain (D2),

Lyrics by Johnny Mercer (C3), Ralph Burns (C3), Paul Francis Webster (D2)

2 LPs, gatefold tip-on jacket, 12-page booklet

Limited edition

Original analog Master tape : YES

Heavy Press : 180g

Record color : black

Speed : 45 RPM

Size : 12'’



Record Press : RTI

Label : Impex

Original Label : Impex

Recorded and mixed by Jim Anderson

Produced by Patricia Barber and Ulrike Schwarz [Technical Producer]

Mastered by Bob Ludwig

Originally released in January 2019

Reissued in April 2022



Side A - Angels, Birds and I

  1. Muse 
  2. Surrender 
  3. Pallid Angel 

Side B:

  1. The Opera Song 
  2. High Summer Season 
  3. The Albatross Song

Side C:

  1. Voyager
  2. Higher 
  3. Early Autumn (Mercer, Burns, Herman)

Side D:

  1. In Your Own Sweet Way (Brubeck)
  2. Secret Love (Francis, Frain)
  3. The Opera Song


Reviews :

“As a singer and writer, Patricia Barber has never been easy to define. In the audiophile world, she's too often defined—and her brilliance obscured—by her ubiquity at audio shows and her regrettable membership in a sorority of generic, well-recorded "female vocalists." But in what idiom?

Most of Barber's early work was obviously jazz, and today she continues to perform straight-ahead jazz on Monday nights at Chicago's Green Mill, where she has appeared for decades. Over time, though, her studio work has shifted toward meticulously accompanied poetry, especially on the albums Verse and Mythologies, and she has been keeping company with opera singers and classical music scholars.

It seems natural that a writer and performer of such songs would eventually choose to compose art songs suitable for either jazz or classical performers. Higher begins with the eight songs of Barber's cycle Angels, Birds and I, an early version of which she performed with opera diva Renée Fleming in Chicago, Washington DC, and New York City in 2015. On Higher, we get hints of Fleming's approach in the two versions of Barber's slyly humorous "The Opera Song," the first sung and played by Barber and her musicians, the second by soprano Katherine Werbiansky, accompanied by Barber on piano.

The first three songs of Angels, Birds and I are dedicated, respectively, to Fleming ("Muse"), Barber's teacher and mentor Shulamit Ran ("Surrender"), and musicologist/University of Chicago professor Martha Feldman ("Pallid Angel"), who is also Barber's wife. There's a careful balance here: "Muse" is a nakedly intimate lesbian love song ("Such sweet entanglement/Fingers, legs, and hips"); in "The Albatross Song," a woman leaves her rich, stylish, bourgeois husband for a man with "bedroom eyes" who is "more like a bird than a man." Here, she follows the tradition of countless classic art song composers, including Franz Schubert, who wrote songs in which men sang the roles of female protagonists and, in some cases, women sang men's roles.

Beyond any talk of who is what and in whose arms they lie, Angels, Birds and I is revelatory, a cycle sung in an oft-declamatory, measured style by a creator whose surface coolness barely conceals deeply felt sensuality and passion. It is too soon to call it a masterpiece, even if it's tempting—Barber has written and recorded many great songs over a span of 30 years. But it is not too soon to proclaim it a cycle with considerable power to move and provoke.

Barber fills out the recording with four tracks: the above-mentioned "The Opera Song," Woody Herman, Johnny Mercer, and Ralph Burns' "Early Autumn," Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster's "Secret Love," and Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way." The topics are in line with Angels, Birds and I, and the treatment is echt Barber. Those, like me, who think of "Secret Love" as a soppy, substandard song sung by Doris Day accompanied by—Lord have mercy— harp and strings will be surprised by Barber's transformation of it, just as she has transformed other standards and songs over the years. Think: "She's a Lady" from Modern Cool.

Higher bears the earmarks of an audiophile classic: music of substance in excellent sound. While it has so far been released only in Red Book resolution, it was recorded, mixed, and mastered in DXD (24/352.8), so there's hope for a higher-rez version. Jim Anderson, Barber's longtime recording engineer, has received 26 Grammy nominations and 10 awards, and Bob Ludwig, the mastering engineer, has received 15 Grammy nominations, 11 Grammy awards, and two Latin Grammys. Together, they've created a pristine production in which every whisper and unique color receives due attention (…).” Jason Victor Serinus, Stereophile, August 2019


“Like most TAS readers, I first heard Patricia Barber, whose career here approaches the 40-year mark, on Café Blue, her 1994 album that made her a star in high-end audio, owing to a superb recording by her long-time engineer Jim Anderson, and also among connoisseurs of innovative, cutting-edge jazz. Although classically trained, she is known for a cool, intense, highly personal style as singer, pianist, and songwriter. Higher, her 18th album and first in the studio since 2013’s Smash, showcases what may be her most ambitious, and surely her most personal, composition yet, Angels, Birds, and I . . ., a cycle of eight songs she frankly calls art songs (she performed an early version with Renée Fleming in 2016). Dualities inform several of them, from lesbian lovers and a woman leaving her wealthy husband (“the sovereign suburban overlord”) for her free-spirited lover (“a wandering albatross”) to those that inform Barber’s own creativity as pianist, singer, and lyricist. Layered with multiple meanings, these introspective songs require and reward repeated listening. Inventive takes on three standards from the Great American Songbook fill out the program. The contributions from Barber’s instrumental quartet are first-class. Immediate, close-up, transparent sonics.” Paul Seydor, The Absolute Sound, Jul 21st, 2021

“Whether she's breathing new life into Ovid's Metamorphoses (on her 2006 album Mythologies), paying tribute to one of her songwriting idols (on her 10th album The Cole Porter Mix), or delivering a set of sparkling originals (on her 2013 Concord Jazz debut, Smash), the US songwriter, vocalist and pianist Patricia Barber has ploughed one of the most distinctive artistic furrows in jazz. Elected to the esteemed American Academy of Arts and Sciences earlier this year, Higher sees Barber return to the song cycle with ‘Angels, Birds and I…’, which brings together eight iridescent originals that seamlessly blend the language of jazz with the French mélodies of Debussy, Fauré and Ravel. There are paeans to music (‘Surrender’), comedic flights of fancy (‘The Albatross Song’), and philosophical musings (the beautiful title-track, dedicated to her mother), all delivered in Barber's characteristically confessional, sotto voce style. In addition to ‘Angels, Birds and I…’, the album also features the Brubeck instrumental ‘In Your Own Sweet Way’, a further brace of creatively reimagined standards (‘Early Autumn’ and ‘Secret Love’), plus the operatic soprano, Katherine Werbiansky, recapitulating ‘The Opera Song’.” Peter Quinn, Jazzwise


Ratings :

Discogs : 4,21 / 5 ; TAS : 5/5 Music, 5/5 Sonics

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