Patricia Barber did not start writing her own songs with lyrics until the early 1990s, and continues to perform them alongside jazz standards, vocal and purely instrumental, and occasional jazzed up pop covers. Today she is recognized as one of the foremost songwriters of our time, compared more than once by the LATimes with Joni Mitchell and Peggy Lee.
In 2001 Margo Jefferson of the New York Times announced: "This is what Patricia Barber has: adventurous piano playing, a low-vibrato alto on perpetual rhythm and timbre alert and smart songs about the way we think and live, not just the way we love… This is the kind of art we need to be on the lookout for everywhere. The 21st century has started. We can't afford to be left behind."
Barber has an uncanny knack for embedding complexly layered music and verse in classic Barber-tweaked song forms marked by exquisite elegance, strange commentary, and brilliant, funny surprises. Elsewhere the NY Times called her a “literary critic, philosophy student, and needling social commentator rolled into one." And The Minneapolis Star Tribune summed her up in a headline that read “Part [Cole] Porter, Part Prince, All Art,” adding that Barber is “the most complete jazz artist today.” Video Clip
"Cross Diana Krall with Susan Sontag, and you get Patricia Barber, whose throaty, come-hither vocals and coolly incisive piano are displayed to devastating effect." - TIME MAGAZINE