Saturday, February 18, 2012


Jazz singer Gretchen Parlato
Gretchen, when I drove home from Orchestra Hall in Detroit last night, I thought about why your hour long set didn’t go over well with the audience. I figured it wouldn’t because most of the people who attend the Paradise Jazz Series are old-timers, and they favor traditional jazz. 

 I figured the organizer's of the Paradise Jazz Series booked you because they’re trying to mix things up some. They want to attract a younger demographic. That’s okay. I’m all for experiments.

There’re other jazz clubs around Detroit where your neo-smooth jazz style would be a hit. The Jazz Café, Cliff Bell's, and the Jazz Loft come to mind. 

 I adored “lost and found,” the album you put out last year. I begged my friends, who’re into alternative forms of jazz, to buy it. I was hooked on your carefree voice after I listened to “Holding Back the Years” and “Circling”. I couldn't wait to you hit Detroit. 

 Gretchen, your set was lackluster. You didn’t have much stagecraft. Honestly, I didn’t expect you to show out like Dianne Reeves and Dee Dee Bridgewater did when they performed at Orchestra Hall a few years back. 

 You just stood in front of the microphone and moved side to side as if you’re trying to rock the audience to sleep. For the life of me, I couldn’t tell if you’re the kind of jazz singer who feeds off the audience.

You hummed and mumbled more than you sang. After you sang “Within Me” and “Butterfly,” I wondered if your heavy touring schedule has drained you, or if you just had an off night?

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