Gretchen Parlato: Live in NYC (Deluxe Edition)

Gretchen Parlato: Live in NYC (Deluxe Edition)

One of the best of the new breed of jazz singers, Gretchen Parlato has as much in common with soul divas like Diana Ross and Erykah Badu as she does with Nina Simone or Sarah Vaughan. She’s backed here by two different versions of her working trio (with pianist Taylor Eigsti leading both), doing a survey of her work that emphasizes material from her second and third albums. Standouts include her interpretations of Herbie Hancock’s “Butterfly” and a lengthy take on Wayne Shorter’s “Juju,” which includes original lyrics by Parlato. She looks outside of jazz for material as well, rendering a well-turned take on Simply Red’s “Holding Back the Years” and a heartbreaking version of Lauryn Hill’s “All That I Can Say.” Known mostly for her quiet tone and impeccable phrasing, Parlato has a natural affinity for bossa nova and has done several tunes over the years—here Paulinho da Viola’s “Alo Alo” conjures a sensual bit of Carnival on the strength of her voice and some percussion. Overall, the arrangements here are stretched out but still sound as nuanced as the studio versions.

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