Sophistication and Brazilian Rhythms
of Gretchen Parlato

Jazz Review by DON HECKMAN
Los Angeles Times: August 29, 2000.

If you liked Astrud Gilberto, you'll love Gretchen Parlato. Although she was born more than a decade after Gilberto recorded her classic bossa nova albums with Stan Getz, Parlato has a similarly pure, sweet voice and an intuitive knack for Brazilian rhythms.

Appearing at Spazio in Sherman Oaks on Sunday night, Parlato revealed a level of musical sophistication not always present in Gilberto's singing. Delivering her lyrical passages with crisp articulation, she also improvised in horn-like fashion, investing her lines with an awareness of the shifting flow of harmonies.

The choice of material for a show she labeled "Musica Brasileira" was excellent, ranging from Jobim's classic "Chega De Saudade" to such older pieces as Bide and Marcal's "A Premeira Vez" and Geraldo Pereira's "Falsa Bahiana." In each case, Parlato's musicality was a key element in interpretations that often illuminated the heart of the songs.

Parlato was aided enormously by the presence of a superb accompanying ensemble: Larry Koonse, guitar, Tamir Hendelman, piano, Tony Dumas, bass, Enzo Todesco, drums. Given ample room to solo, they used the space enthusiastically, with Hendelman's thoughtful solo on "Chega De Saudade" a highlight of the set.