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Patricia Barber: A Fortnight in France

There’s rarely any in-between with vocalists’ live recordings. More often than not they’re muddily recorded “greatest hits” packages that require the artist (and, by extension, the listener) to compete with rattling cutlery and phlegmatic patrons. The exceptions-Garland, Bennett and Shirley Bassey at Carnegie Hall (the latter of which is long overdue on CD), Sinatra at the Sands, Ella and Ellington’s entire Cote d’Azur oeuvre-tend to be extraordinary, rather like bottled energy made up of equal parts performance, electricity and artistic imagination.

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