Patricia Barber: I Could Eat Your Words


I Could Eat Your Words


Patricia Barber (vocals, piano)


Verse (Blue Note 39856)

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Patricia Barber (vocals, piano), Dave Douglas (trumpet),

Neal Alger (guitar), Michael Aronpol (bass), Joey Baron (drums)


Composed by Patricia Barber


Recorded: Chicago, February 10-14, 2002


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

A Chicago native, Patricia Barber still lives and works in the Windy City, despite her worldwide critical acclaim. With a dark voice and a wit to match, Barber takes a minimalist approach to her style, letting words and meaning sink in the listener’s brain. “I Could Eat Your Words” is a Barber original which tells of a student seducing her English professor over dinner. The lyrics are an absolute delight with a few words that will send the listener running for a dictionary. Of course, they are perfect for the setting as the student uses the professor’s own vocabulary as a weapon of seduction. Further, Barber mixes the worlds of food and language as in the delicious phrase, “season reason with a transitive verb”. Barber’s cool (but not detached) vocal conveys a sense of total control. Dave Douglas provides a subtle contrast with his wry trumpet solo filled with intriguing ideas and astounding note choices. Then, Barber takes a short piano solo which takes a single idea and moves it into different places in the rhythmic structure. Barber then returns for a final half-chorus and a very interesting tag line: “Baby, teach me tonight”. It is as if the student has succeeded in the seduction and is now willing to cede the power back to the professor.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe


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