Patricia Barber - Higher (Reel-to-Reel)
Piano, Vocals – Patricia Barber [click here to see more vinyl featuring Patricia Barber]
Bass – Patrick Mulcahy
Drums – Jon Deitemyer
Soprano Vocals – Katherine Werbiansky
Tenor Saxophone – Jim Gailloreto
Written by Patricia Barber
2 x reel-to-reel
Two 15 IPS 1/4" Reel to Reel Tapes Made to Order, One at a Time!
Jim Anderson's Original 32 bit/352.8 kHz DXD Masters Recorded Directly to Tape by Scott Hull at Masterdisk!
Deluxe Tip-On Printed Case for Each Reel in the Set
Certificate of Authenticity from Scott Hull
Label : Impex
Original Label : Impex
Recorded and mixed by Jim Anderson
Produced by Patricia Barber and Ulrike Schwarz [Technical Producer]
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering
Originally released in January 2019
Reissued in 2022
- Pallid Angel
- The Opera Song
- High Summer Season
- The Albatross Song
- Early Autumn
- In Your Own Sweet Way
- Secret Love
- The Opera Song (with Katherine Werbiansky)
“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.” 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
Discogs : 4.59 / 5