Fall 2012

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Photo by Valerie Booth

Patricia Barber: Chicago Jazz Genius

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Ever wonder about those strange designations we use throughout Northwestern to identify alumni of the various schools of the University? See the complete list.

Chicago jazz artist Patricia Barber (GBSM96) says she likes to live her life in an “art orbit. I spend my whole day doing art. I believe in thinking and reading and researching and playing and practicing.” That orbit is about to expand. In June Barber and her jazz quartet started recording a new album, which is slated for release at the beginning of next year. The latest album’s songs are all original, which is rare in today’s jazz world, Barber says. A Monday night fixture at the legendary Green Mill Jazz Club in Chicago, Barber says the songs on this album are, broadly speaking, about loss. Beyond that, she says, interpretation is up to the listener. Barber, who tours regularly, played at the Montreal Jazz Festival in late June. Her 2013 tour will include stops all over the United States, as well as in London, Vienna, Paris, Milan and Istanbul. But she’s proud to call the Chicago jazz scene her home. “There’s a wealth of great musicians here,” says Barber, who has also played at Northwestern. “In Chicago, you don’t have to deal with the prices of Manhattan and you have access to great, great musicians. I’ve never felt the need to move to New York.”