The Lost and Found
Gretchen Parlato doesn’t really evoke any other jazz singer. Clearly influenced by contemporary R&B and pop vocalists, she’s got her own thing going on. Parlato has a lovely tone with an appealingly hazy, slightly nasal, aura. 2011’s The Lost and Found is superb. One of the album’s highlights takes place on “Winter Wind” where at one point her ace band takes off, and she comes up with countless variations for a handful of repeated lyrics. It’s an incredibly exciting stretch. (Pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Kendrick Scott are responsible for the stirring surge that she rides.) Tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens joins the group for a version of Wayne Shorter’s “Juju,” which has lyrics by Parlato. “Still,” a blues-tinged slice of folk-pop penned by Alan Hampton, finds the composer sitting in on acoustic guitar and vocals. The cut is a bit different than anything else here but it fits in nicely. The title track, a quiet original by Stephens and Parlato, is colored by fine brushwork and lovely tenor sax. Parlato barely sings above a whisper, but she’s riveting.