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Virtual jazz festival hits a more simple note 

It's how music began: a voice and percussion. Basic, intimate, powerful.

The coronavirus lockdown laid waste to the plans of jazz vocal star, Grammy nominee Gretchen Parlato. But in isolation at home in Los Angeles, with partner Mark Guiliana on drums, she's finding joy in simplicity. 

And on Saturday, she's sharing that joy with Australia, in an exclusive streamed performance for a virtual jazz festival called These Digital Times, organised by the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (which was to have kicked off this week). 

Plus, you can check out their LA home, decipher the book titles (is that a Miles Davis biography?), admire the nicknacks on the shelves, note the inspirational little framed posters declaring "let go" and "love is every step". 

"It kind of makes you think of what's really necessary [to create music]," Parlato says, over the phone from LA, of the request from the festival to deliver a set from their living room. 

"I like the idea of stripping something down, finding a way to execute a song and deliver it so that people hear it in a way they haven't before. 

"Even when there are songs people might know with more harmony... maybe now they pay more attention to the melody, or the lyric, or the groove. It's like a 'first music' idea. We had a good time putting the whole set idea together and executing it." 

Guiliana had a professional set-up to ensure the video and sound were high quality. But still, says Parlato, "it feels just cosy, and more intimate to be actually, visibly in our living room. It felt like we were playing for ourselves."

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Melbourne International Jazz Festival announces 2020 digital festival 

The physical event was set to kick off next week. 

On Friday May 29, the 23rd Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF) was set to kick off featuring performances from more than 500 Australian and international artists across more than 25 venues. 

But as a result of the current crisis, the festival has been forced to adapt quickly and will now present the much-anticipated event in an online format. Titled These Digital Times, the digital music festival series will feature performances from local and international artists on the last Saturday of May, June and July. 

Live-streamed via the MIJF website straight to YouTube in high definition, the festival is completely free and will combine live performances from some of the biggest names in Australian and international jazz with career development panels for artists and industry professionals. Each event will kick off from 12pm and run until 10:30pm. 

The first event taking place on Saturday May 30 will welcome the likes of multi-ARIA award-winning singer Kate Ceberano performing songs from her jazz back catalog, revered local artist Kaiit closing the night with her party-starting energy and inimitable take on neo-soul as well as an appearance from mesmerising vocalist Gretchen Parlato alongside her partner and internationally-renowned drummer and composer Mark Guiliana, all the way from the US.

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From Jazz on Concert: Gretchen Parlato FLOR at Wellington Jazz Festival 

»hear concert 1h22m
Recorded in Opera House Wellington
Gretchen Parlato with Marcel Camargo, Leo Costa & Artyom Manukyan 

E Preciso Peroar (Carlos Coqueijo, Alcivando Luz)
Sweet Love (Anita Baker, Louis A Johnson, Gary Bias)
Magnus (Gretchen Parlato)
Rosa (Pixinguinha)
What does a lion say? (Chris Morrissey, Gretchen Parlato)
Flor de Lis (Djavan)
Bach: Cello Suite No 1, Menuette
No Plan (David Bowie)
Wonderful (Gretchen Parlato)
E luxo só (Ary Barroso)
I can't help it (Stevie Wonder)