Gretchen Parlato grew up in a musical household, the daughter of bassist/guitarist Dave Parlato (who worked with Don Ellis, Warne Marsh, Gil Melle and Frank Zappa, among others). She won the 2004 Thelonious Monk Jazz Vocal Competition and released her debut CD on her own label the following year; In a Dream is her long awaited follow-up and it does not disappoint. Like many jazz musicians of her generation, Parlato casts a wide net in choosing her repertoire, drawing from pop, jazz standards and her own originals, with a sympathetic band including African guitarist/singer Lionel Loueke, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott, all of whom have recorded as leaders.
Parlato kicks off by engaging in a playful Latin setting of Stevie Wonder's "I Can't Help It," with Loueke as her sole partner. Her first original, the album's title track, is set to a tune by pianist Robert Glasper, a breathy ballad that shimmers like sunlight on the water. "Turning Into Blue," with music by Alan Hampton, is a breezy affair that successfully blends elements of jazz and pop.
Parlato's magical rendition of Duke Ellington's infrequently performed "Azure" finds her musicians very reserved yet taking the music down a different path, while the singer overdubs extra lines at times. She bubbles with energy in the electric setting of Wayne Shorter's "E.S.P.," scatting a solo with occasional overdubbed excerpts of her singing at the age of two. A vintage home recording is also added to her interpretation of Herbie Hancock's "Butterfly," with her sweet voice complemented by Loueke's inventive acoustic guitar and offbeat mouth clicking. Parlato resists preset boundaries and follows her own muse, rewarding listeners with her spirit of adventure.
I Can't Help It; Within; Butterfly; In A Dream; Doralice; Turning Into Blue; E.S.P.; Azure; On
The Other Side; Weak.
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