Los Angeles native Gretchen Parlato has accrued a passionate fan base through her tireless touring and engaging stage presence, leading her quartet and performing with jazz masters Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Burrell and notable vocalists Anthony Hamilton and Gregory Porter. She is now an Instructor of Jazz Voice at Manhattan School of Music but along her musical journeys, she has released three albums - Gretchen Parlato, In A Dream, The Lost and Found – that have earned her a plethora of awards and accolades from a variety of prestigious critics polls and associations.
Gretchen Parlato’s latest release Live In NYC (ObliqSound, 114) is a two-disc set that includes a CD and DVD. The CD, which has received a 2014 GRAMMY nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album, was recorded live at Rockwood Music Hall and features two different working bands that came together for two nights in December 2012 to record the album. Songs culled from Parlato’s previous three albums make up the set.
The Live In NYC CD features fresh live interpretations of 9 songs that have been longtime staples of Gretchen Parlato’s performances. They capture Gretchen’s expressive vocals and arrangements with band members pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Alan Hampton, and her husband, drummer Mark Guiliana. Bassist Burniss Earl Travis II, and drummer Kendrick Scott also appear on “All That I Can Say,” “Weak,” “On The Other Side,” and “Better Than.” Together their unique approach to such songs as Herbie Hancock´s "Butterfly," which opens the album, and Robert Glasper’s re-arrangement of "Weak,” one of Parlato´s most popular covers, reveals their artistic growth which has expanded well beyond a single stage and become two diversified ensembles that are appreciated internationally. Taylor Eigsti’s excellent piano solo on “Weak,” creates a successful parallel to Parlato’s vocals.
"Alô Alô" from The Lost and Found, has intensified to a driving rhythmic showcase with each band member jamming with raw intensity as they play their instruments percussively. Simply Red’s “Holding Back The Years,” (also arranged by Robert Glasper) is creatively reworked and is now a potential jazz standard that is certain to be added to many jazz vocalist’s repertoires. Live in NYC closes with Parlato´s original "Better Than," with the audience singing along.
Gretchen Parlato felt it important to include a visual component and as a result, the live companion DVD features pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Burniss Earl Travis II, and drummer Kendrick Scott. Four of the nine songs that appear on the CD are spotlighted on the DVD. However the difference between the two discs is being able to actually see the performers up close, personally as well as being able to view the additional energy and how Gretchen and the band interact with the audience and emanate their emotions from the stage.