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Recommended Listening With Damian Erskine: Gretchen Parlato | “In A Dream”

meet reviewer Damian Erskine ~

Gretchen Parlato

“In A Dream”

(www.gretchenparlato.com)

It’s going to be hard to express to you just how blown away by this album I am.  Gretchen displays amazing and equal amounts of grace, phrasing, time feel, control and diction when she sings but, beyond that.. we finally have a jazz vocalist who gives us current and hip music to groove to a well!  I have honestly been looking for someone like Gretchen to listen to for some time.

There has seemed (Bobby McFerrin aside) a time warp with jazz vocalists which has kept many of them trapped decades behind the rest of the jazz movement.  Gretchen has managed to side-step this trend and has released some of the coolest music I’ve heard in some time (Looking at the writing credits on the album gives us an indication of this.  Collaborating with guys like Robert Glasper and Lionel Loueke is no joke!)

There is some special magic when she pairs up with Lionel Loueke that has to be heard.  With his guitar artistry and vocal grooves paired with her amazing sense of time and phrasing, the result is a mesmerizing few minutes that has to be repeated to be fully absorbed.

The one track that really stands out to me is ‘Weak’, which was co-written with Glasper.  This is the music I absolutely LOVE and I can’t believe that there is finally a vocalist who can hang like she does and blend in musically as well as she can.  Not only can this girl SING like nobody I’ve heard in some time, but she is right up in there with some of the coolest stuff to come out the newer Jazz movement in some time.

In a word, I can’t believe any music or jazz lover wouldn’t love this album.  Stunning and sublime!

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