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interviews —


Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 9:36 PM
Interview | Gretchen Parlato on her life, lessons, and how to define timeless music in three easy steps
Giovanni Russonello, Capitalbop, Mar 6, 2013

"It´s hard to find a jazz singer that has captured more people´s attention and curiosity in the past five years than Gretchen Parlato. In a smoky voice that somehow twines soft and sibilant exhalations with a crackling percussiveness, she drapes ennui and desire over bossa nova, jazz standards, her own originals, and compositions by contemporaries.

It´s that last category that Parlato likes most to talk about: She´s part of an energized, free-spirited generation in jazz, one that´s as proud of its interwoven community as it is of its collective autonomy. These women and men don´t wait to bend the jazz tradition..."
» more

Gretchen Parlato:
Musical Immersion

Aug 2012, Downbeat Magazine

"DownBeat had the pleasure to chat with Parlato about her promising career as a young vocalist, the various influences that inspired her, including her family, and how she began to finally hone her skills as a composer.

Given that your father, Dave Parlato, is a bassist, and your grandfather was the late trumpeter Charlie Parlato, did you immediately know growing up that you wanted to become a vocalist?

I think what was immediate was that I loved to sing. I didn’t know very early that I wanted it to be my profession. But from when I could speak, singing was just a part of expression and joy and freedom. Growing with all kinds of artists in the family, it was definitely just a part of everyday [life]. But it was later on in my life that I realized that it was really something that I would turn into a career..." » more at downbeat.com

Gretchen Parlato JazzStories Podcast
Jazz at Lincoln Center, JazzStories

"I don't think I had a clue that I would ever be able to write anything when I recorded the first CD... But then it was time to reveal myself as a composer ...it wasn't planned, it's not like there's a certain set time to make such a transition."

Vocalist and songwriter Gretchen Parlato's music is introspective and crafted with a familiar touch. Winner of the 2004 Thelonious Monk Jazz Vocalist competition, she has released three albums including 2011's highly-acclaimed "The Lost and Found." From this JALC Listening Party, she discusses the writing process and her transition from interpreter to composer."
» hear preview at JazzStories
» hear podcast at iTunes

'Jazz By Way of London' Web-Series
Part 4 Featuring: Gretchen Parlato

by London Town, February 19, 2012

"it´s not often we are treated to a jazz vocalist who is able to imbue her voice-as-instrument with effortless understated style. We are talking about none other than fast-rising New-York based Californian singing star Gretchen Parlato, an alumnus of the Thelonious Monk Institute. We caught up with Parlato after her performance at the Kings Place during the London Jazz Festival 2011. She spoke to us about her musical upbringing, the creative process on her latest album 'The Lost & Found', working with Robert Glasper and gave us an insight into her vivaciously witty double-life Helen McKenzie." » watch video interview

Tillery: A Quiet Intensity
Interview by Tamara Davidson, Revivalist.com

What better way to launch our vocalist issue than to feature an in depth interview with Tillery, an inspiring trio of vocalists who have their feet in the jazz world and have come together to make music that authentically expresses themselves. The ladies of Tillery, Rebecca Martin who has been playing music for over two decades in the jazz world as well performing as a singer-songwriter and guitarist, Gretchen Parlato one of the most respected jazz vocalists of our time, and Becca Stevens the youngest of the three who is already a prolific songwriter and guitarist are a powerful team. It is not everyday that you see three jazz vocalists coming together, which makes Tillery a quite refreshing and important group. Grounded in friendship and love, their music exudes compassion and warmth. » more

A Cool Jazz Conversation with Gretchen Parlato
Blog Talk Radio, Jan 17, 2012

"It was certainly written in the stars that Gretchen Parlato would enjoy the uber respect of a music career."
» read/listen to interview & tracks | » or listen here


Nature and Nurture
Jazz singer Gretchen Parlato searches for the essence.
by Craig Belcher, Style Weekly, Nov 29, 2011

"it's not that life is all uphill, you know, it just gets better and better. It's really a cycle, accepting that life is full of sorrow as much as it is with joy and kind of figuring out how to embrace all of it. It can get pretty deep, but it's also pretty simple." » interview part 1
Q: Helen MacKenzie. Where did she come from?
A: She came from her hair. She came from that wig. The story was... » interview part 2


Teacher, Teacher: a New JazzTimes Series
Pt. 1: Gretchen Parlato and Dianne Reeves remember important mentors
Gretchen Parlato — LET THE AUDIENCE FIND YOU

Singer Gretchen Parlato was accustomed to the atmosphere of the arts high school she attended in Southern California, where “you’re spoiled in a really good way with being encouraged and inspired and you’re surrounded by arts. It’s so rich, there’s so much opportunity that when you graduate your college years can seem a bit of a letdown...
I had more teachers who took the tough-love approach. That works for certain people, but to be honest I never worked well with tough love.”

Yet at UCLA she also found Barbara Morrison. “...there were people questioning whether what I did was good enough or saying it wasn’t loud enough, or it was boring, or that I needed to open up my eyes and move around—there was Barbara, who looked me in the eye and said, ‘But you know what, there’s something really special here... what you do, is you allow the audience to come to you.’ That meant so much to hear at a young age, that my approach was valid and justified and special. I think that was even more profound for me,” Parlato continues, “because Barbara... has that big voice and I’m little me. So it meant even more for someone like her to acknowledge and appreciate where I was coming from." ...more @ JazzTimes


Gretchen Parlato: On All Things Lost and Found
Alternate Takes — Broadening the Jazz Perspective
October 6, 2011 by Angelika Beener

"Everyone has a story to tell, and it’s not about trying to sound like anyone else,” singer Gretchen Parlato said to me on a pleasantly balmy fall afternoon, as we sat under a colossal tree in my neighborhood park. We talked about life, love and embracing it all, the good and the bad. When she said those words to me, they resonated particularly deep, as such is true no matter what your career or path may be. It’s a simple statement, but just like we discerned for ourselves that day, the older we get, the more those sagacious sayings take on real meaning. For Parlato, her true understanding of those proclamations has been manifested in her latest work, The Lost and Found.

Her most personal and poignant project yet, Parlato has lived a lot more life, and it shows. The Lost and Found is a story of vulnerability, heartbreak, endurance and revelation. And as in real life, there is no resolve per se; the goal is not to necessarily make sense of it all, nor is it about wishing away the things that we’d rather not go through. It’s just life.
» read interview
Artist's Choice: Gretchen Parlato on Herbie Hancock
Today’s top jazz performers pick 10 favorite tracks by the players, singers and styles that helped define them. By Gretchen Parlato
JazzTimes Magazine, Aug 30, 2011

Choosing 10 Herbie Hancock songs that truly represent his full spectrum of genius is close to impossible. So I decided to focus on tracks that are funk- and groove-based, innovative when they were first heard, and clearly inspire the sound, texture and production of today’s music. These are all tracks that hit me in my soul. Here we go... » gp's favorite Herbie tracks @ JazzTimes
Gretchen Parlato: A Maven of Tone, Timbre and Texture
A listening session with the acclaimed singer
by Larry Appelbaum, JazzTimes, Aug 18, 2011

"Since winning the 2004 Thelonious Monk Jazz Vocal Competition, California-raised, New York-based Gretchen Parlato has become a favorite of critics, fans and fellow musicians. The 35-year-old sings standards, but not from the dog-eared pages of the Great American Songbook. With a musician’s sensibility, she carves out idiosyncratic arrangements of jazz instrumentals and Brazilian sambas, as well as pop and R&B gems from the ’80s and ’90s. She’s also starting to write more, and her song stories are as distinctive as her phrasing.

It seems everyone wants to work with Parlato these days, and she’s already appeared on more than 50 recordings, including projects with Lionel Loueke, Kenny Barron, Terence Blanchard, Becca Stevens and Esperanza Spalding. Parlato’s latest recording as a leader is The Lost and Found (ObliqSound).” » read interview @ JazzTimes

Gretchen Parlato on being a jazz singer
and her thoughts on Esperanza Spalding's Grammy win

By Shawn White, Denver Westward, Jun. 22 2011

Westword: What is your first memory of jazz music?
Gretchen Parlato: I have a few early memories. It's been in my life forever. There were all kinds! It was a good way to be spoiled. Everyone's an artist in my family. My mom is also a musician and a visual artist. Having artist parents, they knew the importance of exposing me and my sister to all types of music and art and making art part of our everyday. it was just always there.

So were you guys the weird art kids then?
[laughs] We were! But you know I always had a community of other weird art kids. So in a way it's kind of cool that I never really questioned it. » read interview


JAZZIZ FEATURE INTERVIEW
A Voice All Her Own
Singer Gretchen Parlato sweeps aside her fears
on The Lost and Found
Interview with Kara Manning, Jazziz Magazine
Spring Edition, 2011


"The theme just kept unraveling of the lost and found... light and dark, good and bad. It's always a cycle. Just when you think you've figured it all out, something happens that knocks us off balance."
In depth interview includes the process of working with Robert Glasper, the Monk Institute, also interviews with Glasper, Esperanza Spalding, Tierney Sutton.
» read article (PDF)


Trying to Find a Balance
by Gretchen Parlato, JAY Z Life + Times, Jun 7, 2011

"For jazz singer Gretchen Parlato, being able to sync her mind and body is the key to achieving her sound. “My voice is my instrument,” she says. “My body is my instrument. It is all related and connected. I believe that we hold emotions physically in areas of our bodies, so we need to open up these areas, these channels, so that all can pass and move through us. Singing is an exhale. Singing is a release. Singing is breath. Singing is a balance.” » hear "Still" to gp's 7 favorite yoga positions


GP on BlogTalk Radio
A conversation with Gretchen Parlato

» listen to interview


Playlist: Gretchen Parlato on The Checkout

"Gretchen Parlato shares some of her favorite singers with WBGO’s Josh Jackson, including Bobby McFerrin, Becca Stevens, Oumou Sangare, Shirley Horn and Luther Vandross."

» listen


NPR Live Monday: Interview and Live Chat with Gretchen Parlato
Join us for a live listening party conversation: We have Gretchen in the studio. We'll speak with her and play tracks from the album. And at the same time, we'll run a web chat where you can post feedback, submit your questions.
» hear recorded interview & chat @ npr

NPR Weekend Edition Sunday
Interview with Gretchen Parlato: Stay in the Moment

NPR staff, May 1, 2011
"Gretchen Parlato has been called the most important jazz singer since Cassandra Wilson, and her delicate vocals won over the judges at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2004. Since then, Parlato has appeared on more than 50 recordings, and continues to build a following with tours throughout the U.S. and overseas. Her third album, The Lost and Found, was recently released." » hear it now


“It’s More Than a Whisper”:
A Conversation With Gretchen Parlato

Michael J. West, Washington City Paper
Apr 15, 2011

"Parlato is one of the most acclaimed and closely watched singers in jazz, and her star is still rising. Parlato talked to Washington City Paper about songwriting, playing with Terence Blanchard alums, and developing her unique sound.”
» read interview


Gretchen Parlato Goes From Lost to Found
Interview with Bridget Arnwine, DC Jazz Music Examiner
April 5, 2011

"Gretchen Parlato understands the value of making connections. As a singer/songwriter, success depends on her ability to establish a connection with her audience. But even before that, Parlato knows that a connection to the audience is rooted in her ability to first connect with the music. Today, the singer who has fielded invitations to appear on more than fifty recordings will release her third album as a leader, The Lost and Found (ObliqSound). Based on themes of accepting oppositions that show up in our lives and in our relationships- lost vs. found, happy vs. sad, bad vs. good, dark vs. light- The Lost and Found showcases Parlato at her most vulnerable and, conversely, at her most free.” » more
Gretchen Parlato —
Could There Be a Grammy in her Future?

Interview with Gretchen Parlato
"It has been a process for me to get to that place and to realize that it is okay to not try to sound like anyone else or to try to be like anyone else... I stepped out of my own way with this project, The Lost and Found... and I allowed the music and the stories to come out." — and it promises to be the most personal collection of songs from Gretchen Parlato yet. » more — Joe Montague, Riveting Riffs Magazine

The Next Generation of Jazz
Aaron Parks interviewed by Matt Kassel
nextbob.com, October 22, 2010

"with Gretchen it’s easy, you can play anything really, and she’s going to be there and deal with it and figure out a way to sing something herself that makes everything sound good …she’s really an improvising musician... and is as ready to get up into complete uncertainty... it’s rare... it’s one of the things that makes her, in a way, one of the most important musicians right now." » read interview


Nine Women In The Room: A Jazz Musicians’ Roundtable
The Record - Music News from NPR, Nov 1, 2010

Over the summer, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington brought together some pretty high-profile musicians from all over the world to record The Mosaic Project. After a full day of recording, eight of the musicians sat down with Lara Pellegrinelli for a conversation on the topic of women in jazz: Terri Lyne Carrington, Geri Allen, Helen Sung, Esperanza Spalding, Ingrid Jensen, Tineke Postma, Nona Hendryx, and Gretchen Parlato. They shared some of their own experiences and discussed the media, the music business, audience, mentors, and role models. ...more


One Track Mind: Interview with Gretchen Parlato
Kristi Lomax, KPFK, April 10, 2010
Gretchen Parlato’s second album, “In A Dream”, made plenty of jazz critics Top 10 lists in 2009. But it’s her take on 90s Hip Hop/R&B classics that have the underground buzzing.

On her latest album “In A Dream”, jazz singer, Gretchen Parlato reinterprets songs from Duke Ellington to SWV. She discusses the process of making a classic song your own, advice from Wayne Shorter, and studying at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

» hear it @ kpfk.org


Nu-Soul Radio Episode 5: Gretchen Parlato
by Morgan Rhodes, May 4, 2010

"Someone once said, "Jazz is alot like life. It's better if you improvise." Life must be beautiful for Gretchen Parlato. Her cover of SWV's classic "Weak" from her debut project "In a Dream" on Obliq Sounds, is a sexy ethereal must -have. The album, a potpourri of African and Brazilian rhythms, classics, standards and covers, including Michael Jackson's "I Can't Help It" was released last year and has been all the rage ever since. She sat down with Nu-Soul radio host Morgan Rhodes to discuss the interpretation, evolution and future of jazz."

Nu-Soul Radio Episode 5: Gretchen Parlato




Gretchen Parlato: In a Dream
HEED MAGAZINE Diversity Issue

Story by
Billy Wilkins

Photography by
Qaasim Barefield

March 2010

 

 

 


Jazz doesn’t die, it multiplies; changes form, modulates and manifests itself in the shape and image of a new generation. Jazz speaks many languages, from the sexy pickup line of a Miles Davis solo, to the instrumental argument of a Roy Hargrove solo.

Then, the world happens upon a jazz artist speaking in a new language, with an intelligent touch. We overlook the simple words. We ignore the quiet sounds; we tie five knots on one tennis shoe. We look for over the top, when most of what we need to hear in contemporary jazz, could be easy and natural. » more @ heedmag.com



Gretchen Parlato -

a Musician's Singer
for a New Generation


JazzTimes
by Shaun Brady
December 2009



"This next song was written by Herbie Hancock," announced Gretchen Parlato in October, from the stage at Chris' Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia. Then, with a sly glance back at drummer Justin Brown, she added, "It's called 'Rockit.'"  Just a joke, at least for now. But it's a testament to Parlato's wide-ranging imagination that, in the instant between her announcement and the ensuing gale of laughter, it seemed entirely plausible...
» read article


Gretchen ParlatoJazz journey— Gretchen Parlato dives into the music

By John Goodman, Delta Optimist
September 25, 2009

Despite having a father who played with Frank Zappa and a grandfather who worked with the Beatles, Gretchen Parlato grew up in Los Angeles thinking that she was leading a pretty normal childhood.

» read full interview


Parlato takes chances

By Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal
September 25, 2009

If her family background is any gauge, singer Gretchen Parlato's fate was sealed early on, and the fact that she's winning praise from the likes of Herbie Hancock is only part of destiny unfolding as it should.

» read interview


Gretchen Parlato - In a Dream Jazz singer Gretchen Parlato:
Her music is pacific, like the ocean


Gretchen Parlato, among the very best of a rising generation of jazz singers, appears at Seattle's Triple Door Sept. 23.

By Andrew Gilbert Special to The Seattle Times
September 18, 2009

The title of Gretchen Parlato's new album "In a Dream" (Obliqsound) aptly captures the sustained mood of ethereal introspection that she evokes from the first track to the last.

Possessing an enticingly crystalline voice and a ravishing concept deeply informed by samba ballads and bossa nova, Parlato is among the very best of a rising generation of jazz singers, an artist who has taken her own sweet time forging a highly personal sound unlike that of any of her peers.

"For me, the best way to be as an artist is to be completely yourself, letting that vulnerability come through," said Parlato.

» read interview


NPR FAVORITE SESSIONS —
Gretchen Parlato: Living 'In A Dream'
Spotlight: Gretchen Parlato Performs
Stevie Wonder's 'I Can't Help It'

by Josh Jackson, NPR.org
September 15, 2009

» listen to full live interview and recording

The Documentary Channel's
4-part series—
Icons Among Us:
Jazz in the Present Tense

gp was featured in Episode 2—
Icons Among Us:
12 Notes In Real Time

» watch Episode 2 video clip


RISING STAR OF JAZZ
Gretchen Parlato — Song of the Soul
Jazzit Magazine, by Marta Raviglia

"It’s a beautiful thing to sing through your vulnerability in a song. Then it's just about honesty and purity of the music... To me, it’s as if the music is this higher power above all and bigger than all of us. It’s about being a true artist and serving the beauty of the music, not your ego."

» read interview in English

Gretchen ParlatoGretchen Parlato
Living & Sharing Her Dreams
By Fancee, itsall411.blogspot.com
August 26, 2009

"I sing from my heart and soul and i try to be as open and vulnerable as possible. It's all about honesty and being genuine. Sharing your own unique story through your art."

» read article


Gretchen ParlatoSinatra's heir apparent
By Katherine Feeney, Brisbane Times
Oct 22, 2008

There's something special about being labelled Frank Sinatra's heir apparent - particularly when that successor is a woman. ...barely thirty, [she] has already attracted acclaim from the upper echelons of jazz world royalty.

Speaking with the singer, it becomes clear she won't be drawn on questions surrounding her much-publicised brilliance. To say that Parlato is modest is an understatement. She says a highly creative upbringing in Los Angeles cultivated her talent and that her ambition is merely a quest to remain "honest, open and venerable" about her art.

» read article


Spotlight: Gretchen Parlato
VIBE
Interview with Jalylah Burrell
July 28, 2008

"Long enamored with the sounds of Brazil and, in recent years, transplanting listeners to West Africa with frequent collaborator Blue Note guitarist Lionel Loueke, her influences range from folk to New Wave to R&B to the jazz vocalists Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson. In fact, her pared down cover of the Michael Jackson hit, "I Can't Help It", is a case study in genre transcendence and interpretative brilliance."

» read interview

She's a singer ... naturally
by Zan Stewart/The Star-Ledger
May 29, 2008

"It's a very spiritual experience that makes me very much in touch with myself, what's going on in my body. Especially when I'm performing, there's that sense of feeling really grateful to have musicians around me, the audience connecting with the lyrics. In short, it's a very intimate thing for me to do that brings me a lot of peace."

» read interview

Open to Possibilities
JAZZWOMEN
Hot House, June 2008

"There's nothing like conversation with others, sharing this art and having the audience there to support you, encourage you. You feed off the energy and it moves the music to a different space."

» read interview

Jazzed up - Gretchen Parlato
OurBrisbane.com
by Justin Grey
Jan 30, 2008

"it was really just realising how to be a better musician – how to drop my own ego and not let it get in the way of me growing. When you come out of it [Thelonious Monk Institute] you realise this was a heavy, heavy thing, and the greatest part is it makes you realise what you want and don’t want in music and even in life... To me, what I do has always been very pure, natural and simple in its approach. Sometimes you’re not even aware of the steps that you’re making, but it’s a wonderful thing that, in turn, by just expressing what I love myself, other people have loved it too. "

» read interview

Women of Jazz
Jim Cryns, Express Milwaukee
Feb 2008

"The first time I saw Gretchen perform live was in New York. She was freaking me out," remembers [Esperanza] Spalding... "Here was this skinny little white girl putting out this wonderful music," she jokes. "I was covered in goose bumps."

» read interview

Gretchen Parlato and Esperanza Spalding:
Dynamic duo

Gretchen Parlato and Esperanza Spalding
point to jazz's future

Isthmus - The Daily Page
Susan Kepecs, Feb 2008

"Just the fact that players like that know me and like what I do is completely humbling," she says. "Jazz is such a broad word for a genre of music. Artists like Herbie and Wayne haven't been stagnant, they haven't tried to keep jazz inside one box. They know the only way it can live is if it moves forward. I'm grateful to have artists like them influencing us and taking us on tour."

» read interview

Sultry Gretchen sizzles
The Courier-Mail
Brisbane, Australia
Feb 1, 2008

"THE phone rings three times before voicemail picks up. A piano sounds in the background, introducing the sultry voice of American jazz artist Gretchen Parlato, crooning: "Please leave a message and I'll call you back, and l'll call you back . . ."

» read interview

KPFK - Global Village
Jan 25, 2008

- gp & Marcel Camargo:
interview with Sergio Mielniczenko & live performance
Juju (gp/mc), Tales From Banyan (mc), On the Other Side (gp/mc)

>> listen to performance & interview

Critically Acclaimed Jazz Prodigy Visits Australia for the First Time
Brisbane Powerhouse
Dec 2007

"Hailed by critics as a female Frank Sinatra, winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition... Gretchen is renowned for her ethereal sound and fusion of jazz, Brazilian and African elements."

» read article

The Other Side of Gretchen Parlato
Jazz Review, by Joe Montague
July 24, 2007

"Donning a blue wig and performing a whacky improvisation of a very senior citizen awaiting her boyfriend’s arrival, the absolutely comedic woman on the [myspace] video is obviously blessed with talent... Miss MacKenzie is the alter ego of the very talented and equally beautiful jazz vocalist Gretchen Parlato, whose ethereal vocals have caused seasoned jazz musicians and singers to marvel at her seemingly endless musical gifts."

» read interview


Gretchen Parlato reinterprets bossa nova
at La Villette Jazz Festival

Radio Interview with Leticia Constant
Paris, France, Sep 5, 2007

» listen to interview (english/portuguese)


Interview with Morrie Louden
Jazz Police, Joe Montague
July 8, 2007

"She is a very special, I will say musician, she’s a singer, but she is also a musician. She is very well studied and knows music very well. A lot of singers don’t know much about the theoretical part of music, they just sing, which is a great thing too, but Gretchen is also a musician. She understands everything that she is singing. Beyond that, she has the most amazing angelic voice."

» read interview


KRML Interview with Leroy Downs
The Jazz Cat, Leroy Downs, thejazzcat.net
April 25, 2006

» listen to streaming interview


Gretchen Parlato -
Straight from the Heart...

    with special guest, Tierney Sutton
By Gerald W. O'Brien
Jazz Review
September, 2005

"I have always been exposed to music where voice was used in really different and unique ways, so it seems very natural for me to continue [to] bridge the gap, so to speak, between singer and instrumentalist. So many people have done that before me. It's just an important thing, as a singer, to be educated, so that you are speaking the same language as instrumentalists around you – and just being humble and letting go of your ego and singing from your heart and not your head all the time."

» read interview