born in 1976 in Los Angeles, CA, United States
Gretchen Parlato (born 1976) is an American jazz singer. She has performed and recorded with musicians such as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Barron, Esperanza Spalding, Terence Blanchard, Marcus Miller and Lionel Loueke.
Parlato's 2009 sophomore release, In a Dream was positively reviewed by NPR, Jazz Times, the Village Voice, and the Boston Globe. Billboard magazine hailed it as "the most alluring jazz vocal album of 2009".
Her 2011 release The Lost and Found received over 30 national and international awards including iTunes Vocal Jazz Album of the Year and Jazz Critics Poll No. 1 Vocal Album of 2011.
As of 2013, Parlato is a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music.
Parlato was born in 1976 in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Dave Parlato, bass player for Frank Zappa on many albums including Zoot Allures, also working with Al Jarreau, Don Preston, Barbra Streisand, Henry Mancini, Paul Horn, Gabor Szabo, Buddy Rich, Don Ellis and recording for TV/film. Her grandfather was Charlie Parlato, trumpet player in Kay Kyser Big Band, and singer and trumpet player for Tennessee Ernie Ford and Lawrence Welk. Growing up in the 1980s, Parlato says she was a Valley girl. Parlato attended Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, then earned a bachelor's degree in Ethnomusicology/Jazz Studies at University of California, Los Angeles.
In 2001 she was accepted into the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance by a panel of judges including Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard and Wayne Shorter. Parlato was the first vocalist ever admitted into the program.
Move to New York City
In 2003, Parlato moved to New York City. A year later, she won the first place in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. by a panel of judges: Quincy Jones, Flora Purim, Al Jarreau, Kurt Elling, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jimmy Scott. In 2005 she released her self-titled first album, Gretchen Parlato. It was named No. 5 Best Progressive Jazz CDs of 2005 by Jazz Nation and got 5 stars in Down Beat's Blindfold Test by Richard Bona. In August 2007 she was named No. 3 Rising Star Female Vocalist in Down Beat's 55th Annual Critics Poll. In September 2007 she performed with jazz legend Wayne Shorter at La Villette Jazz Festival in Paris. In June 2008, a live recording of Gretchen performing in New York was aired by Japanese NHK network television.
Relationship with ObliqSound
In July 2008 Parlato signed a recording contract with independent record label ObliqSound. In Spring 2009 Gretchen was featured in The Documentary Channel's 4-part series Icons Among Us: Jazz in the Present Tense. In August 2009 she released her second CD, In a Dream, on the ObliqSound record label, with Lionel Loueke on guitar and vocals, Aaron Parks on piano and Fender Rhodes, Derrick Hodge on acoustic and electric bass and Kendrick Scott on drums. The album was produced by Michele Locatelli. It was named No. 1 Best Vocal Jazz Album of 2009 by The Village Voice Critics Poll and was listed in the Top 10 Albums of 2009 in JazzTimes, Boston Globe, Washington City Paper, Hot House and NPR.
In Spring 2010 she was nominated for Female Singer of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association. In June/July, Parlato performed at Stockholm and Healdsburg Jazz Festivals, and sold out jazz festival performances in NYC, Montreal, Paris, The Hague, Copenhagen, Stuttgart and Molde, Norway, with Taylor Eigsti, Alan Hampton and Mark Guiliana. In August, she was voted No. 2 Rising Star Vocalist in Down Beat's Annual Critics Poll.
In 2011 she released her 2nd album for ObliqSound, The Lost and Found with Taylor Eigsti, Derrick Hodge, Kendrick Scott, Dayna Stephens, Alan Hampton, with associate producer, Robert Glasper. On this album, she introduced four of her own songs and wrote lyrics to compositions of her fellow musicians and for Wayne Shorter's "Juju." In addition she reinterpreted a samba by Paulinho da Viola and popular R&B songs by Mary J. Blige, Lauryn Hill, and Simply Red.
The Lost and Found placed in the top 10 in over 30 polls in the US and Europe.
Some of the most notable 2011 awards:
ASCAP Award of Merit for Songwriting
No. 1 Rising Star Female Vocalist - Down Beat's Annual Critics Poll
No. 1 Female Vocalist of 2011 - JazzTimes Expanded Critics Poll
No. 1 Vocal Album - 2011 Jazz Critics Poll
No. 1 Vocal Jazz Album of the Year - iTunes
No. 1 Best Album of the Year - Jazzfm.com
No. 2 Best Jazz of 2011 - NPR
No. 2 Best Jazz Album of 2011 - Amazon
No. 3 Top Female Vocalist - Down Beat's Annual Readers Poll
Featured vocalist on Terri Lyne Carrington's Grammy Award winning album, The Mosaic Project
No. 1 Best Female Vocalist Award - Jazz Journalists Association
No. 2 Best Female Vocalist - Down Beat's Annual Critics Poll
Parlato has been a guest vocalist on over 70 recordings, including three Esperanza Spalding albums Radio Music Society, Chamber Music Society and Esperanza, Kenny Barron's The Traveler, Marcus Miller's Renaissance, Lionel Loueke's albums Heritage and Virgin Forest, Terence Blanchard's Flow, and Terri Lynne Carrington's The Mosaic Project (Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album), singing lyrics as well as wordless vocals.
- Live in NYC (Obliqsound, 2013)
- The Lost and Found (Obliqsound, 2011)
- In a Dream (Obliqsound Records, 2009)
- Gretchen Parlato (self-released, 2005)
As featured vocalist
- Nirvana - Lithium (Sunnyside, 2014)
- Aya Nishina - Flora (Tzadik, 2013)
- Dayna Stephens - That Nepenthetic Place (Sunnyside, 2013)
- Gerald Clayton - Life Forum (Concord, 2013)
- Nilson Matta - Black Orpheus (Motema, 2013)
- Gino Sitson - Vocal Deliria, vol2 (Buda Musique, 2013)
- John Daversa - Artful Joy (BFM Jazz, 2012)
- Lauren Desberg - Sideways (2012) - produced by Gretchen Parlato
- Home - The Gift of Music - Japan Earthquake Relief (Sunnyside, 2012)
- Lionel Loueke - Heritage (Blue Note, 2012)
- Marcus Miller - Renaissance (Victor Japan, 2012)
- Mark Guiliana - Beat Music (2012)
- Esperanza Spalding - Radio Music Society (Heads Up/Concord, 2012) ***Grammy Winner
- Becca Stevens - My Life Is Bold, 2012)
- Joe Sanders Quartet - Introducing Joe Sanders (Criss Cross, 2012))
- Becca Stevens - Walking in the Air (Sunnyside, 2011)
- Terri Lyne Carrington - The Mosaic Project (Concord, 2011) ***Grammy Winner
- Becca Stevens Band - Weightless (Sunnyside, 2011)
- David Binney - Graylen Epicenter (Mythology, 2011)
- Jesse Fischer & Soul Cycle - Homebrew (Soul Cycle, 2011)
- Exegesis The Harmony of the Anomaly (2011)
- DJ Center Everything in Time Remixed (Push the Fader, 2011)
- Impromptu Sessions - Danceaholic (Entertainment Group, 2011)
- Esperanza Spalding - Chamber Music Society (Heads Up/Concord, 2010)
- Jovino Santos Neto - Veja o Som (See the Sound) (Adventure, 2010)
- DJ Center Everything in Time (Push the Fader, 2010)
- Generosity - The Generosity Project (2010)
- Mari Yamashita - Sunflower (2010)
- Guilherme Vergueiro - Intemporal / Timeless (2009)
- The Brother Thelonious Quintet - Brother Thelonious (2009)
- New West Guitar - Sleeping Lady (2009)
- Justin Vasquez - Triptych (2009)
- Gretchen Parlato, Suresh Singaratnam & Jamie Reynolds - That Is You (2009)
- Kenny Barron - The Traveler (Emarcy, 2008)
- Esperanza Spalding - Esperanza (Heads Up/Concord, 2008)
- Francisco Pais - School of Enlightenment (2008)
- Massimo Biolcati - Persona (ObliqSound, 2008)
- Nick Vayenas - Synesthesia (World Culture, 2008)
- Hironobu Saito - The Rain (Fresh Sound, 2008)
- Ideé Ensemble (Idee/Rip Curl, 2008)
- Sean Jones - Kaleidoscope (Mack Avenue, 2007)
- Lionel Loueke - Virgin Forest (ObliqSound, 2007)
- Morrie Louden - Timepiece (2007)
- Gregoire Maret - Scenarios (ObliqSound, 2007)
- Mari Yamashita - Erato (Erato, 2007)
- Oddlogik - Modern Authenticity (Dtuck's Music, 2007)
- Marko orevi - SVETI Where I Come From (2007)
- Kendrick Scott Oracle - The Source (World Culture, 2006)
- Walter Smith III - Casually Introducing Walter Smith III (Fresh Sound, 2006)
- Francis Jacob - Side-by-Side (2006)
- Patrick Cornelius - Lucid Dream (2006)
- Greg Lamy Quartet - What Are You Afraid Of? (2006)
- Self-Scientific - Tears-2 Step (Angeles, 2006)
- Hironobu Saito - The Sea (Fresh Sound, 2006)
- DJ Nerstylist Forward Listing (FMG Vinyl, 2006)
- Terence Blanchard - Flow (Blue Note, 2005) *** Grammy Nominee
- Self-Scientific - Change (Angeles, 2005)
- Daisuke Abe - On My Way Back Home (Nagel Heyer, 2005)
- Janek Gwizdala - Mystery to Me (2004)
- Seeing Other People Original Soundtrack (2004)
- A World of Happiness (Walt Disney, 2004)
- The Sugarplastic - Resin (Escape Artist, 2000)
- Guilherme Vergueiro - Amazon Moon The Music of Mike Stoller (Windham Hill, 1998)
- Guilherme Vergueiro - Encontro Rio Bahia (Del Sol, 1997)
- The Sugarplastic - Bang, The Earth Is Round (Geffen, 1996)
- Gina & Russell Garcia - The Unquenchable Flame, A Musical Drama (1996)
- Moog (Lifelonglife, 1994)
- Ouellette, Dan (August 25, 2009). Review: Gretchen Parlato, In a Dream. Billboard. Retrieved on August 17, 2011. With her second release, In a Dream, Parlato's time has arrived. So far, the set is the most alluring jazz vocal album of 2009.
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- Jazz Departments: Critics Picks: Top 50 New Albums and Top 10 Historical Releases By JazzTimes Jazz Articles. Jazztimes.com. Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- Steve Greenlee's top jazz albums for 2009. The Boston Globe (December 20, 2009). Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
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