I had a chance last week to see Patricia Barber at a small club here in Ann Arbor, The Firefly. I haven't seen her perform in more than five years, so the show was something of a reintroduction to her quirky style. The band was a quartet - piano, guitar, bass and drums. Interestingly enough at the show I saw she chose to feature the guitarist, Neal Alger
, as the principal soloist. Fortunately he's a very fine, tasteful musician. He played both electric and acoustic guitar. Michael Arnopol provided fine bass support as did the percussionist (I didn't get his name). They really performed well as an ensemble. My strongest impression of the show is how good a vocalist Ms. Barber is. She has a beautiful voice and really knows how to use it to different effects. I know some people find her music a little to cool and restrained, but I am always struck by how playful and adventurous she is when performing. She's an artist with a capital A!