Live in NYC (ObliqSound)

Gretchen Parlato

Released September 24, 2013

Grammy Nominee for Best Jazz Vocal Album 2015

DownBeat 4,5 Star Review




Recorded live at Rockwood Music Hall in December 2012, Gretchen Parlato ‘Live in NYC’ features repertoire from the Jazz chanteuse’s critically acclaimed albums, ‘The Lost and Found’ and ‘In a Dream’. The release also contains a bonus DVD of video footage from the performance.

After the success of her last studio album ‘The Lost and Found’, Gretchen Parlato releases her first live album on CD and DVD. The celebrated singer explains the process behind this album which she produced herself:

“I’ve always wanted to capture and share the magical energy, connection, and interaction of a live performance, singing with Taylor Eigsti, Alan Hampton, Burniss Earl Travis, Mark Guiliana, and Kendrick Scott has uplifted and inspired me, each of them supporting and challenging me as a singer.

Over these years of touring together, two specific bands have stood out to me: Taylor-Alan-Mark, and Taylor-Burniss-Kendrick. Each band has their own unique dynamic and approach to the music. I knew I had to feature both on this live CD/DVD.”

Track Listing:

1. Butterfly (Herbie Hancock / Jean Hancock / Bennie Maupin) 7:42

2. All That I Can Say (Lauryn Hill) 5:59

3. Alô Alô (Paulinho da Viola) 3:29

4. Within Me (Francis Jacob) 8:43

5. Holding Back the Years (Mick Hucknall / Neil Moss) 3:54

6. Juju (Gretchen Parlato / Wayne Shorter) 8:43

7. Weak (Brian Alexander Morgan) 7:51

8. On the Other Side (Francis Jacob) 5:58

9. Better Than (Gretchen Parlato) 8:49


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)

Recorded December 5 – 6, 2012, at Rockwood Music Hall

Produced by Gretchen Parlato

Recorded by Drew Thornton

Mixed by Steve Wall

Mastered by Steve Fallon

Artwork: Jeremy Kotin


In the ever-growing crowd of jazz vocalists, Gretchen Parlato increasingly stands out for her unique sound and musicality. She has been criticized by those who think she should sing “bigger,” move around more, and open her eyes when she performs. But she has held to her own meditative style, which includes encouraging her bands to have spontaneous, passionate, and personally-expressive conversations, rather than being obedient supporters that she unilaterally “leads.” This is all very evident on Live in NYC, which offers both audio and video testimony to Parlato’s singular talents. 
These include her soft, dreamy tone, blessedly accurate pitch, and the phrasing of lines that consistently swing, whatever the tempo. Parlato’s organic sense of time also shows in her breathing, particularly on faster tunes like “Butterfly” and “Alo Alo,” where her short, sharp intakes create a percussive effect all their own. This underscores the fact that, beyond being a remarkable vocalist, she is a fine instrumentalist as well. 
Parlato’s choice of bandmates adds to the many pleasures here. Pianist and keyboardist Taylor Eigsti, a Grammy-nominated leader and composer in his own right, provides blazing and sensitive solos throughout; his flawless runs and melodic creativity are distinctive, and far more than displayed by most vocal accompanists. There’s also a consistently rich, mutual interplay among Parlato, Eigsti, and each of the superb bassists and drummers—Alan Hampton and Burniss Earl Travis ii, and Mark Guiliana and Kendrick Scott, respectively. It’s all part of Parlato’s vision, where players are prized for their artful ability to re-invent the music, remaining true to its basic form while keeping it always fresh and alive.  Standout tracks include her own powerful “Better Than,” the delightful “Alo Alo,” where the DVD reveals her percussionist skill (and the source of all that intriguing clacking), and Herbie Hancock’s “Butterfly,” where the opening riff is catchy enough to linger in mind the rest of the day. Parlato continues to transform a wide range of material, including the American Songbook and pop tunes like Simply Red’s “Holding Back the Years”; she seems to select whatever music and story speak to her personally, regardless of genre. The result is a style that’s not only delightful to hear, but suggests an active, thoughtful, and original musical intelligence behind it. Given her restless and exploratory spirit, it will be fascinating to see where Parlato goes next.

Dr. Judith Schlesinger (AllAboutJazz)