Gretchen Parlato has a mellow air like Nora Jones and current sensation Esperanza Spalding. They have a buck-the-status quo mentality. Parlato is a California native. When she was a kid, her parents turned her on to various forms of music. In 2003, she moved to New York. The following year she won the Thelonious Monk Institute International Vocal Competition. Her first disc “In A Dream” followed five years after.
Tuesday, OBLIQ SOUND releases her new disc “the lost and found, a masterpiece some may mistake as neo-soul. That genre may have influenced Parlato some. But, after inspecting "lost and found," you will concluded it's an unconventional and carefully plotted jazz recording.
Parlato bends many forms and she stays true to her laid-back approach. She covers Lauryn Hill’s “All That I Can Say”, and she restyles “Holding Back the Years,” a hit for Simply Red in 1990. Her soft voice melts in you hands. Parlato wrote lyrics for Wayne Shorter’s pearl “JuJu”. You’ll be unable to tear your ears away from Parlato’s originals.
Spotting talent is her strengths, too. Ace pianist Robert Glasper rearranged Bill Evans’ “Blue in Green”. Glasper fingerprints are on other tunes as well. She hired pianist Taylor Eigsti, drummer Kendrick Scott and bassist Derrick Hodge. “lost and found” will not fly for working-class jazz fans. Nothing is common about Parlato's approach to making music.