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Gretchen Parlato: Live in NYC

C. Michael Bailey By

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Live in NYC is vocalist Gretchen Parlato's eagerly awaited live recording and follow-up to 2011's excellent The Lost And Found (Obliqsound). Gretchen Parlato (Obliqsound, 2006) and 2011's In A Dream (Obliqsound) round out her catalog as a leader. That said, Parlato has been much more busy than would be indicated by her four recordings in eight years. She has appeared on some 70-plus recordings from Kenny Barron's The Traveler (Emarcy, 2006) to Esperanza Spalding's Esperanza (Concord Music Group, 2008) to Becca Stevens' Weightless (Sunnyside, 2011). That is a full plate by any estimate.

From 10,000 feet, Live in NYC is a study in suspension. Parlato puts her voice and phrasing into the ether, seemingly where it exists attached to nothing. Pianist Taylor Eigsti and the band accomplish very much the same thing: sound untethered, floating among one another. The effect is one of spacial disconnection, with each voice easily isolated and heard. But when these disparately sounding elements are brought together and managed in the same time space (and at a given tempo and signature), it all makes sonic sense...very progressive sonic sense. That said, Parlato has been expanding vocal boundaries at regular intervals after having got her "standards" album (Gretchen Parlato) out of her system. That and her increasing associations with like-minded progressives like Eigsti and alto saxophonist David Binney have pushed Parlato into the forefront of East Coast jazz singers.

Parlato's material is derived mostly from her last two recordings with "Weak," "On The Other Side," "Butterfly" and "Within Me" being drawn from In A Dream while the standout cover of Simply Red's "Holding Back The Years," "JuJu," "All I Can Say," and "Alo, Alo" are from The Lost And Found. Her band is made up of her regulars from the last several years, thus the continuity from the last recording is maintained and built upon. Parlato's vocal approach is light and breezy, very user friendly. She pushes boundaries without offending any musically liberal or conservative sensibilities. Parlato's music is pure music, with genres aside. This is one of the futures of jazz vocals.

Track Listing: Butterfly; All That I Can Say; Alo Alo; Within Me; Holding Back The Years; JuJu; Weak; On The Other Side; Better Than.

Personnel: Gretchen Parlato: vocals; Taylor Eigsti: piano and keyboards; Alan Hampton: bass and vocals (1, 3, 4, 5, 6); Burniss Earl Travis II: bass and vocals (2, 7, 8, 9); Mark Guiliana: drums (1, 3, 4, 5, 6); Kendrick Scott: drums (2, 7, 8, 9).

Title: Live In NYC | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: ObliqSound

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